04/18/2007, 00.00
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Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer’s son sentenced to nine years in jail

He was convicted for writing articles critical of the government online on issues like human and Uighur rights in China. He was denied the right to appoint a lawyer and was tried in camera. Some of Ms Kadeer’s other children are also facing charges. She is in exile in the United States.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A court in Urumqi (Xinjiang) sentenced Ablikim Abdiriyim, a son of exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, for nine years yesterday, for instigating and engaging in secessionist activities in the region. Ms Kadeer said charges against her son were false and that he was tried without legal assistance.

The court convicted Abdureyim of spreading secessionist articles over the internet, instigating the public against the government and writing articles that distorted China's human rights and ethnic policies. Under Chinese law, he will also be denied political rights for three years, rights which include free speech and the ability to gather or protest.

Amnesty International reported last month that Ablikim was ill from beatings suffered in detention and was being denied access to medical treatment.

Rebiya Kadeer, a Muslim ethnic Uighur and a prominent businesswoman, fell from grace for criticising the communist government's treatment of Xingjian’s Uighur community. Arrested in 1999 on her way to meet US congressmen, she was eventually released and allowed to leave for the United States in 2005 where she now heads the Uighur American Association

"They would not appoint a lawyer for him and didn't give him an opportunity to defend himself, and they held the hearing in secret," Ms Kadeer told the Washington Post.

Another son, Alim Abdureyim, was sentenced to seven years in prison in September of last year on tax evasion charges.

And another son was convicted of tax evasion but spared a jail term whilst a daughter has been placed under house arrest.

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