On two occasions in November 2007, Ekberjan used his cell phone to record sounds of riots in his home town of Turpan. The audio files, which included the noise of rioters, sirens, and a voice-over of Ekberjan describing what was happening, were sent to friends in the Netherlands, and later used in news reports by Radio Free Asia and Phoenix News in Hong Kong. Ekberjan posted links to the news reports on his blog, which was closed by authorities on December 25, 2007, according to the World Uyghur Congress, a Uighur human rights advocacy group.
In an April 2009 Radio Free Asia report, Ekberjan’s mother said he made the recordings on two occasions, but at his trial he faced 21 counts of sending information abroad. She told Radio Free Asia she believed he might have been motivated to send the files to help achieve his ambition of studying abroad. The Turpan Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison on February 28, 2008, for “separatism” and revealing state secrets, crimes under articles 103 and 11 of the Chinese penal code.
As of April 2009, he was being held in the Xinjiang Number 4 prison in Urumqi, Radio Free Asia reported.
Uighur rights groups contacted by CPJ in late 2017 said they had no new information in his case.