Nurmuhemmet Yasin - China
The young Uyghur writer and poet may have been tortured to death in prison, after being convicted for writing the short story "Wild Pigeon".
According to PEN's information, 31 year-old Uyghur writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin was arrested in Kashgar on 29 November 2004 for “inciting Uyghur separatism”. The cause of the award-winning writer’s arrest is believed to be the publication of his story, “Wild Pigeon” (see links below). Authorities also confiscated Yasin's personal computer containing an estimated 1,600 poems, commentaries, stories, and one unfinished novel.
Yasin was sentenced, without a lawyer, to ten years’ imprisonment during a closed trial in February 2005. Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, said the sentence was “possibly on the basis of information extracted by torture”. The editor who published “Wild Pigeon” in the Kashgar Literature Journal, Korash Huseyin, was given a three-year prison sentence, which he has served, and was reportedly released in 2008.
A 2008 edition of Human Rights in China’s newsletter, China Rights Forum, states:
In an interview conducted on November 30, 2005,Yasin told Manfred Nowak that he had been beaten by other prisoners in his cell for not speaking Mandarin. Nowak also received reports that detainees at this prison were not allowed to pray in detention. Nowak’s interview is the last reliable report on Yasin’s condition. In 2006, Nowak appealed to the Chinese government for Yasin’s release and detailed the conditions of Yasin’s imprisonment in the “Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In August 2007, HRIC received unconfirmed reports that Yasin had been tortured to death in prison. Attempts by exiled Uyghur groups to contact his wife and mother have been unsuccessful.
We featured Yasin as The Empty Chair at our PEN Voices: 3 Writers lecture by Professor Larissa Behrendt in November 2009, and to mark the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer. We also featured his work in The Painted Chairs installation at the Sydney Writers' Festival in May.
In 2008, Uyghur PEN ran a worldwide campaign to have "Wild Pigeon" translated into as many languages as possible, and presented in as many different forms as possible.
Please send appeals:
- appealing for information about writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin's whereabouts and safety;
- expressing grave concern regarding the suppression of the right to freedom of expression in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region;
- calling on the authorities to take all necessary measures to protect writers, journalists and human rights activists in China, in accordance with Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a state party.
Send appeals to:
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
Sydney PEN recommends that supporters copy their appeal to the Chinese embassy in Australia, asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:
His Excellency Mr CHEN YUMING
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
15 Coronation Drive
Yarralumla ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6273 4780
Fax: (02) 6273 4878
Email: chinaemb_au "at" mfa.gov.cn
Radio Free Asia - “Wild Pigeon—by Nurmuhemmet Yasin”, 27 June 2005
Uyghur News - “What is Love?' An Essay by Jailed Uyghur Writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin”, 23 May 2006
Human Rights in China (HRIC) – "China Rights Forum, No. 4, 2008” (PDF), 2008
International PEN Uyghur Centre - "Nurmuhemmet Yasin”, 18 September 2010