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Rebiya Kadeer congratulates Muhammad Yunus, expresses gratitude for her own Nobel nomination
For immediate release
Friday October 13, 2006, 10:20 EDT
Contact: Uyghur American Association (UAA) 1 (202) 349 1496
Contact: Alim Seytoff, UAA General Secretary 1 (202) 321 2388
Ms. Rebiya Kadeer today expressed her heartfelt congratulations to Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Ms. Kadeer is in complete agreement with the Nobel Committee’s assessment that “Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people .
“I have to say that simply being nominated for the highest accolade in human endeavor has been a profound honor for me personally, said Ms. Kadeer from her home near Washington, D.C. “But the worldwide publicity for the Uyghur plight because of the nomination has been invaluable, and I’m thrilled to say we have a whole new swath of friends and supporters on our quest for the recognition of the Uyghur people’s fundamental human rights, she added.
“We hope that the nomination, coupled with broader international recognition and support for the Uyghur people, will also encourage China to open a dialogue with us. We express our willingness to work towards finding acceptable solutions in accordance with international conventions.
“The Uyghur people the world over – but particularly those in the Uyghur Autonomous Region, the former East Turkistan, under China’s administration – know that the nomination has helped us towards achieving our internationally recognized human rights, and towards bringing a rapid end to the harsh repression of the Uyghur people, including my own family, she continued, referring to three of her sons currently in police detention and a daughter under a form of house arrest.
Ms. Kadeer’s three sons, Alim Abdureyim, 30, Ablikim Abdureyim, 33, and Kahar Abdureyim, 42, were all initially detained in late May and early June of this year, and according to sources are still awaiting trial. Ms. Kadeer and her supporters suspect that legal proceedings were halted while the Chinese authorities waited to see the outcome of the Nobel Committee’s deliberations, and now expect legal proceedings to continue.
Two of the sons, Alim and Ablikim, were temporarily detained in May along with their sister Rushangul, 39, apparently to stop them from meeting with a US congressional delegation in the region at the time. On that occasion, Ablikim was beaten unconscious by police officers. Another officer handed a cell phone to Rushangul, who also witnessed the beating with other members of the family – including Ablikim’s children – and told her to call to Ms. Kadeer in Washington, D.C. so that she could hear her son being beaten.
Ablikim’s current whereabouts are unknown, and it is not yet known with any certainty what crimes he is likely to be charged with. According to UHRP’s sources, Alim and Kahar Abdureyim have both been charged with tax evasion; UHRP reported in June 2006 that Alim ‘confessed’ to the charges under torture. Meanwhile, Rushangul has been held under a form of house arrest since June, during which time there have been at least seven police officers in her home at all times and her children have been refused permission to attend school. Other relatives of Ms. Kadeer and friends of the family have been subjected to various forms of police harassment, including arbitrary detention.
Rebiya Kadeer was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Swedish parliamentarian Annelie Enochson. Ms. Enochson stated in her nomination, “Rebiya Kadeer champions the rights of western China’s Uyghur ethnic group and is one of China’s most prominent advocates of women’s rights. Ms. Enochson later stated that Ms. Kadeer “has shown unparalleled courage in opposing the Chinese authorities’ repressive policies.
“I cannot begin to explain the encouragement we have drawn from the nomination, said Ms. Kadeer. “We continue our struggle with even greater determination and with the value of our work completely re-confirmed. The fate of my children is of course a huge concern for me. But it must be understood that the fate of my children is the fate of all Uyghurs. That is what we’re struggling for.