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Uyghur Christian Alimujiang Persecuted for Religious Conversion

by Staff
December 29, 2009
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XINJIANG, China, ( -- ChinaAid received breaking details on the case of Alimujiang Yimiti, a Uyghur Christian who has been illegally detained and held in prison for almost two years. On December 7, 2009, in Kashgar, Xinjiang, Lawyer Li Dunyong of the Beijing Gongxin Law Firm received notice that Mr. Alimujiang Yimiti had been sentenced by the Kashgar District Intermediate Court to a fixed-term imprisonment of 15- years, for the charge of "unlawfully providing state secrets to overseas organizations."

Alimujiang's family members were barred from seeing the verdict paper, though ChinaAid was able to access the document through a reliable inside Chinese government source, one who sympathizes with the unjust treatment of Mr. Alimujiang.

Alimujiang's case reveals another dark side of religious persecution in China--that of persecution by governing authorities against Uyghur Christians in the predominantly Muslim region of Kashgar. Kashgar, unlike the rest of China, maintains a form of Shariah Law. Though Alimujiang violated no Chinese laws, his conversion from Islam to Christianity in 1995 and successful ministry as a Chinese house church pastor was interpreted to violate Shariah law by Kashgar authorities.

With the clear intent of religious persecution, Kashgar authorities have excessively detained Alimujiang, repeatedly delayed his case, threatened his lawyers and relatives, and adamantly refused to allow his family to see him, for nearly two years. Authorities first charged Alimujiang with engaging in "unlawful religious activities," then changed the charges to the "crime of sedition" (inciting to "split the state") and "the crime of leaking state secrets," before finally settling upon the crime of "leaking state secrets to overseas organizations"--for which he has been sentenced to the maximum prison term of 15 years.

President of ChinaAid Bob (Xiqiu) Fu condemns the Kashgar Government in Xinjiang for their intentional religious persecution: "We demand the Chinese government allow the wife and children of Alimujiang to meet with him. We further urge the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release this innocent man, and to punish the responsible Xinjiang officials for violating international and Chinese laws by repressing their people."

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