Updated: Suspected Chinese affiliates meddle with Kazakh human rights office



Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Rahat Palace Hotel,
where Serikzhan Bilash
was staying when he was
taken into police custody.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

Updated at 1:06 p.m. on March 10, 2019

(Almaty, Kazakhstan—March 10, 2019) Four individuals suspected of being connected to the Chinese government arrived at the office of a human rights organization working to aid persecuted Kazakh people living in China and threatened their staff members today.

After the four people arrived and began intimidating AtaJurt's employees, they only left when the human rights office's personnel threatened to call the police

The organization, AtaJurt, published a video describing the event in Kazakh, which can be viewed here. AtaJurt has been active in advocating for Kazakh people residing in Xinjiang, China, who are often wrongly jailed and tortured in the region's notorious concentration camps.

In a message sent to ChinaAid from AtaJurt's president, Serikzhan Bilash, the man notes that his "life is [in] danger."

Update

Shortly after receiving this initial report, ChinaAid learned that Bilash had been taken into police custody from the Rahat Palace Hotel in Almaty, Kazakhstan. A trail of blood throughout the room indicates that Bilash was beaten.

His arrest came as the result of China mobilizing individuals loyal to the Chinese Communist Party to sue him for supposedly damaging the relationship between China and Kazakhstan and accuse him of running AtaJurt as an "illegal organization."

The court assigned him a lawyer, but he rejected the assignment and hired his own lawyer, Aiman Omarova.

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