China: Uighur blogger sentenced to 15 year imprisonment

According to uighurbiz.net, Uighur reporter and blogger Gheyret Niyaz(海來特.尼亞孜)has been sentenced to 15 year imprisonment on July 23 under the charge of “endangering national security” In Urumqi, Xinjiang. The main reason for the prosecution was his interview with overseas media outlet on the Xinjiang 7.5 riot last year. He was arrested and has been detained since October 1, 2009.

Gheyret Niyaz insisted that he is innocent and that he talked to the oversea media outlet as a citizen and a reporter without any bad intention. He will file an appeal.

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In July 2009, he told the reporter in the Asia Weekly or Ya Zhou Zhou Kan that he urged the Xinjiang government to take precautions on the 7.5 riot. His suggestions were:

1. The governor, Nur Bekri, shall give a public speech in order to calm people down, before noon on july 5

2. The government shall ask Han shops to close up on the day.

3. As many police and troops shall be sent in to seal off the Uighur areas.

He also pointed out that the riot was related to the introduction of two policies – bi-lingual education and the exportation of Uighur workers to southern China. And the organization behind the incident is Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global Islamist organization.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Ilham Tohti, a famous Uighur scholar and webmaster of Uighurbiz.net, pointed out that Gheyret Niyaz is a member of CCP and his position in the Xinjiang Economic Daily is equal to that of a Department head. He is critical of both Rabiye Qadir, the Chair of World Uyghur Congress and Wang Lequan, the party chief of Xinjiang in his writings.

Although he is a web manager in Uighurbiz, he is not popular among the Uighur – many consider his opinion too pro-Han. Ilham believes that any harsh sentence would further antagonize the relation between Han and Uighur.

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