In September 2007 Chinese government officials closed Alimujiang Yimiti’s business
and accused him of using it as a cover up for “preaching Christianity among people of
Uyghur ethnicity.” He was later arrested in January 2008 and accused of “subversion
of the national government and endangering national security,” a crime punishable by
Alimujiang, a former Muslim, became a Christian more than 10 years ago and has
been an active Christian in the growing Uyghur church. On May 27, Alimujiang’s case went to trial. His case was referred back to the Chinese Public Security Bureau’s prosecutors due to “insufficient evidence.” He remains in custody.
A Brief Overview of the Case:
On Sept. 13, 2007, the Kashi Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of Xinjiang stated: “Since 2002, Alimujiang Yimiti has been engaging, in the name of employment, in activities of illegal religious infiltration which include preaching Christianity among the people of Uyghur ethnicity, distributing religious materials and converting Christians.”
However, on Jan. 12, 2008, the Kashi Municipal Public Security Bureau placed Alimujiang on criminal detention on the two charges of “suspicion of inciting people to secede from China” and “illegally providing state secrets to foreigners.” On Feb. 20, he was formally arrested.
On Aug. 6, 2009, the Kashi District Intermediate Court secretly sentenced Alimujiang to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign nationals.” It was not until Oct. 27 that the court in Kashi notified Alimujiang’s wife, Gulinuer, and his lawyer of the sentence. Alimujiang appealed.
On March 6, 2010, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region tried the case in private, refusing to let the lawyer appear in court. They upheld the ruling from the Kashi District Intermediate Court, sentencing Alimujiang to 15 years of imprisonment and depriving him of political rights for five years.
On April 12, 2010, Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer got a phone call notifing her that Alimujiang had been transferred from Kashi Detention Center to serve his sentence in No. 3 Prison of Xinjiang in Urumqi. In Nov. 2010, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang accepted the appeal by Alimujiang’s wife and mother and decided to retry Alimujiang’s case of “disclosing top state secrets.”
After Christmas 2010, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang told Gulinuer that they had already made the decision through a collegial bench on December 20. In Feb. 2011, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang notified Alimujiang, who is serving his sentence, that they
upheld the original sentence of 15 years of imprisonment in the reconsideration.
Family Visits to Alimujiang Cut
Prison officials informed Alimujiang’s wife, Gulinuer, that her monthly visits to the prison were being reduced to one visit every three months. Gulinuer went to visit her husband on Jan. 23, but was denied entry. Their last meeting in November 2012 lasted just 15 minutes. Since then, she has only spoken to her husband once by phone, on New Year’s Day. Gulinuer believers the prison authorities’ decision could be connected to her husband’s current appeal. His lawyer believer the restrictions are illegal, since the normal allowance for prison visits is once per month.