Former judge detained for helping farmers in complaints against the government

Huang Yunmin was to set to accompany farmers to Beijing to file petitions. He could get up to ten years in prison. He had criticised the judicial bureaucracy and exposed court corruption. Because of this, he was forced out of his job.

Beijing (AsiaNews/CHRD) – Xinjiang police detained a retired judge, Huang Yunmin (黄云敏), on 12 March for helping local residents file complaints against government officials. The formal charge was “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination.”

People familiar with the case said the detention is retaliation against Huang for helping people prepare and pursue legal complaints over what they view as unjust court verdicts and rights violations.

Police in the city of Tumxuk (图木舒克), Kashgar Prefecture, reportedly took Huang into custody when they suspected that he was going to accompany farmers to Beijing to present grievances during the major legislatives “Two” sessions in early March.

It is unclear why Huang, 58, is facing such a serious criminal charge (Criminal Law, Article 249), which carries a maximum sentence of ten years.

In recent years, Xinjiang authorities have charged several activists and dissidents and imposed harsh sentences, especially against Ilham Tohti (伊 力 哈 木. 土 赫提) and Zhang Haitao (张海涛).

Huang, who has also been accused of having pornographic images on his cellphone, is being held at Tumxuk City Detention Centre in the Third Division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps brigade.

He served a five-day administrative detention just prior to being criminally detained. For years, he has helped disenfranchised groups, particularly agricultural workers and retired military personnel, file complaints against the local government.

In the early 1990s, Huang began serving as a judge on the Third Agricultural Army Brigade People’s Court in Tumxuk, and rose to head its human resources department before he was reportedly pushed out of office in 2006.

According to his family, higher-level officials had pressured him to quit his job after he had criticised judicial bureaucracy and exposed court corruption.