Kazakh woman mysteriously dead after imprisonment on false terrorism charge

Friday, April 27, 2018

Police patrol the street in Xinjiang.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Ili Kazakh, Xinjiang—April 27, 2018) A 50 year-old Kazakh woman incarcerated in China’s northwestern Xinjiang for pointing out that a store owner mixed pork with halal lamb meat mysteriously died three months into her 16-year sentence earlier this month, ChinaAid just learned.

When Nuerguli, a Kazakh female physician who was promoted to chief of a medical department at Kuitun Hopsital for her excellent performance, saw the owner of a meat market stall adding pork to lamb meat and trying to pass it off as halal in late January, she called him out publicly, plainclothes police immediately took her into custody. She was criminally detained, and Kuitun’s procuratorate prosecuted her under the charge of “spreading extreme religious and terrorist doctrines.” According to an anonymous Kazakh, Nuerguli was sentenced to 16 years in prison and died three months after her arrest under mysterious circumstances in early April.

Another unidentified Kazakh with knowledge of the situation said, “She was an ethnic minority, and she attended a Han [ethnic majority] university. In 1989, she was assigned to the Kuitun Hospital in the cardiac and vascular department. She was promoted to the chief of the medical department for her outstanding performance as a doctor. She was to be imprisoned for 16 years just for saying one sentence … It’s unclear whether Nuerguli was beaten to death or died of disease. The local police pressured her family members, forbidding them to leak the news. [According to the Chinese government] Kazakhs are more inferior than dogs nowadays.”

The source’s comments refer to Xinjiang’s ongoing persecution of the Kazakh and Uyghur people, two of China’s 56 ethnic minorities that together comprise more than half of the region’s population. Over the past few years, China has tightened its chokehold on these predominantly Muslim people groups, ordering them not to wear beards or clothing indicative of their faith among other arbitrary rules and equating violations to these regulations to terrorism or “religious extremism.” Xinjiang authorities also began calling Kazakh people born in China but living in Kazakhstan home, where they are often placed in “political training” or “anti-extremist training” centers, or detention centers designed to hold and torture innocent Kazakhs and Uyghurs. These centers are quickly filling from the amount of people sent to them, so authorities have started closing ethnic minority schools to create room for more.

Additionally, Kazakhs have been prevented from leaving the country.

Recently, police from Emin County, Xinjiang, sent Haukken, an 80 year-old retired county government chief executive, to an “anti-extremist training center” and announced that everyone arrested would be detained for at least a year, regardless of whether or not they are innocent. At this time, more than 6,000 people have been arrested in that county, and the number is still rising.

The United States recently announced that it is considering sanctions against certain Xinjiang officials for the abuse of Uyghur and Kazakh citizens. ChinaAid calls on the U.S. to go through with this consideration and asks that the international community copy their actions in order to honor Nuerguli’s memory and ensure no one else unjustly dies in Chinese prisons.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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