Student appeals for brother’s release from Chinese prison

A MANCHESTER student is campaigning for the release of his brother, who is believed to be held in northwest China by the authorities and is at serious risk of torture. 

Dilimulati Paerhati claims his brother Dilixiati, 27, was taken from his home in Urumqi, a city situated in China’s troubled Xinjiang region, on 7 August 2009 and has not been heard from since.

The 30-year-old, who is studying international business management at Manchester Metropolitan University, has not been able to contact his family in Xinjiang as the authorities have blocked the phone lines.

“The phone lines are blocked after the unrest in Xinjiang, so I can’t even speak to my family to find out if they’ve had any news,” Dilimulati told Amnesty International, who have taken up his case.

“I just want to know that my brother is OK, and to help get him released. He was due get married this summer, but he had to postpone the wedding because of all the trouble in our city.”

Dilimulati now believes that his brother may have been abducted because he was the editor of a popular news website and Amnesty International’s supporters are now writing to the Chinese government to demand that Dilixiati is released or charged with a criminal offence and given a fair trial.

“He only edits a website, he hasn’t done anything wrong. There has been trouble in Xinjiang but my brother wasn’t part of it. He didn’t even write about it,” added Dilimulati.

The Paerhatis are from China’s Uighur ethnic minority. Dilixiati’s website Diyarim.com has been off-line since 6 July 2009.

The authorities in the region began blocking the internet, international telephone and text messaging services in Urumqi and other cities on 5 July 2009, which they claim will prevent violence from spreading.

Reports suggest that police interrogated Dilixiati about the ‘unrest’ for around eight days from 24 July 2009. He was released but rearrested days later.

Violence and widespread unrest broke out in Urumqi and in other parts of Xinjiang province in July 2009, after police cracked down on initially peaceful demonstrations in Urumqi by Uighurs.

The demonstrations were protesting the authorities’ inaction after two Uighur workers died during a violent riot at a factory.

Steve Ballinger, of Amnesty International UK, said: “Amnesty supporters around the world are writing to the Chinese authorities, urging them to respect Dilixiati Paerhati’s human rights.

“Officials should tell his family where he is being held, let them see him, and guarantee that he is not being ill-treated. And unless he’s going to be charged and put on trial, they should release Dilixiati Paerhati immediately.”

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