Memetjan Abdulla

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

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 news reports. A court in the regional capital, Urumqi, sentenced him to life imprisonment on charges of separatism, disclosing state secrets, and organizing an illegal protest on April 1, 2010.

The U.S. Congress-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.

According to Xinjiang Victims Database, a crowd-funded database that documents mass incarcerations of ethnic minorities in China, Abdulla is being held at Shikho Prison, which Chinese authorities call Wusu, in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, in Xinjiang.

CPJ’s messages in October 2023 to the Xinjiang governmental service and the Xinjiang region prison administration about Abdulla did not receive a response.