China 'executes' Uighur activist

Wife says police forced convicted Muslim activist to confess to crimes.

    Activists accuse China of using the war on terrorism as an excuse to repress Uighurs [GALLO/GETTY]

    She said she was informed that her husband would be executed on Monday and was allowed to visit him briefly the same day, according to RFA.

     

    "(It was) only for 10 minutes, we didn't have too much time to talk ... Previously, he had said his leg hurt, and his stomach hurt, and other parts of his body hurt, and that he needed medicine," she said.

     

    Bullet hole

     

    "When the body was transferred to us at the cemetery I saw only one bullet hole in his heart," Buhejer told RFA.

     

    China has not confirmed the execution, although a spokeswoman for the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court told Reuters a group of people had been executed on Thursday.

     

    Semed was also accused of "possessing firearms and explosives", Uighur sources told RFA.

     

    Buhejer said that during the trial, her husband had told the court that his confession was coerced.

     

    "They forced me," she quoted him as saying.

     

    'Terrorist group'

     

    Sources close to the case told RFA the charges were based allegations that Semed was a founding member of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Muslim Uighur separatist movement which Beijing has outlawed as a terrorist group.

     

    The United States also officially brands ETIM a terror organisation.

     

    A Uighur exile group, the World Uighur Congress, said the prosecution had presented no credible evidence on which to convict Semed.

     

    "His trial, like most Uighur political prisoners' trials, was not fair," it said in an emailed statement.

     

    According to RFA, Semed had previously served two prison sentences for Uighur separatist activities before fleeing to Pakistan in 1997 after Chinese security forces broke up a Uighur demonstration in the town of Yining, then known as Gulja.

     

    According to Amnesty International hundreds, if not thousands of largely peaceful Uighur protesters were were killed or seriously injured in the Gulja crackdown.

     

    Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking minority group, live mainly in China's far west Xinjiang region bordering Central Asia.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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