Abdulla, editor of the state-run China National Radio Uighur service, was detained in July 2009 and 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 on 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 his health as of September 2018.