Memetjan Abdulla

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Uighur radio editor Memetjan Abdulla is serving a life sentence on charges of separatism, disclosing state secrets, and organizing an illegal protest. Police in Xinjiang arrested Abdulla, who allegedly translated sensitive articles and spoke with foreign journalists in Beijing, in July 2009.

Abdulla, editor of the state-run China National Radio Uighur service, was accused of instigating ethnic rioting in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region through postings on the Uighur-language website Salkin, which he managed in his spare time, according to international news reports. A court in the regional capital, Urumqi, sentenced him to life imprisonment for separatism, disclosing state secrets, and organizing an illegal protest on April 1, 2010, the reports said.

The U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia reported the sentence in December 2010, citing an unnamed witness at the trial. Abdulla was targeted for talking to international journalists in Beijing about the riots and for translating articles on the Salkin website, Radio Free Asia reported. The World Uyghur Congress, a rights group based in Germany, confirmed the sentence with contacts in the region, according to The New York Times.

Abdulla is in an unspecified prison in Xinjiang, according to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and law in China.

CPJ could not determine the state of Abdulla’s health as of September 2019. CPJ called the Urumqi Public Security Bureau in late 2019 but no one answered the phone.