Uighur Historian Released from Prison
International PEN welcomes the release of Uighur historian and writer Tohti Tunyaz (pen name: Muzart) on expiry of his 11-year prison sentence. PEN calls upon the Chinese authorities to drop all remaining restrictions against Tohti Tunyaz so that he can rejoin his family in Japan, in accordance with Article 12 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
According to PEN’s information, Tohti Tunyaz completed his 11-year prison sentence on February 10, 2009, and was released from Prison No. 3 in Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, China. His wife and children have been living in Japan for many years now, and she has recently obtained Japanese citizenship. She has requested that the Chinese authorities allow her husband to return to Japan for medical treatment and to continue his studies at Tokyo University, but restrictions on his movement reportedly remain in place.
Tohti Tunyaz was arrested on February 6, 1998 in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, while on a research trip. At the time of his arrest Tunyaz was studying for a Ph.D. in Uighur history and ethnic relations at Tokyo University in Japan. The charges against him are believed to be linked to his research, and specifically a book allegedly published by Tunyaz in Japan in 1998 entitled The Inside Story of the Silk Road, which, according to the Chinese government, advocates ethnic separation. No such book appears to exist. He was convicted on March 10, 1999 by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court and, following an appeal, sentenced by the Supreme Court on February 15, 2000 to a total of 11 years’ imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights for "stealing state secrets" and "inciting national disunity."
Pen Press Release: https://pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3138/prmID/172
Write A Letter
- Welcoming the release of Tohti Tunyaz on expiry of his prison sentence on February 10, 2009;
- Calling the Chinese authorities to drop all restrictions against Tohti Tunyaz so that he can join his family in Japan, in accordance with Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
People's Republic of China
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional People's Government
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China
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Please check with PEN if sending appeals after March 16, 2009: ftw[at]pen.org