Uighur Journalist and Writer Detained
International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Uighur journalist and poet Mehbube Ablesh, who was arrested in August 2008 after posting two critical articles online. PEN seeks details of any charges against her, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
According to PEN’s information, journalist and poet Mehbube Ablesh, aged 29, worked for the Xinjiang People’s Radio Station, a government-run station based in the provincial capital Urumqi, until she was dismissed from her post in early August 2008 and arrested after posting articles online critical of Chinese government policy and the provincial leadership in Xinjiang Autonomous Region. She is reportedly being held in Urumqi, and no details of any charges have been made public.
The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China is home to many Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group, some of whom have waged a low-level separatist struggle for independence from Chinese rule for decades. It is widely believed that the Chinese government has exaggerated the alleged terrorist threat in the region to suppress peaceful political and cultural expression.
Writers and journalists are among those at particular risk of arrest in the region for speaking out, and a government crackdown on peaceful dissent intensified in the run-up to the Olympic Games and throughout the month of Ramadan.
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern about the detention of Uighur journalist and poet Mehbube Ablesh, apparently for publishing two critical articles online, and seeking details of any charges against her;
- Calling for her immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
- Seeking assurances that she is granted full access to her family and legal representation, and is treated humanely in detention.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional People's Government
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country if possible.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after November 1, 2008: ftw [at] pen.org