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China: Former Uyghur Muslim preacher dies in Xinjiang prison China | Uyghur
Image Credit: Representational image by Matt Hrkac via Wikimedia Commons

China: Former Uyghur Muslim preacher dies in Xinjiang prison

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Jan 2023, 01:30 pm

Beijing: A Uyghur Muslim preacher, who was serving a five-year sentence in China’s far-western Xinjiang region for making a religious pilgrimage abroad, has died of liver cancer in prison, media reports said.

Omar Huseyin, 55, was the former hatip, or preacher, at the Qarayulghun Mosque in Korla, known as Ku’erle in Chinese and the second-largest city in Xinjiang, reports Radio Free Asia.

Authorities apprehended him in September 2017 amid a widespread crackdown on Islamic clergy and other prominent Uyghurs, for traveling to the holy city Mecca in 2015, the news portal reported.

Authorities also detained Huseyin’s three brothers in 2017, one of whom was serving a 12-year sentence for participating in religious activities and died in prison.

Mahmut Moydun, an Uyghur inmate who escaped from another prison in Korla and was in hiding, told RFA that conditions at detention centers had been deteriorating because more inmates, including the preacher, had died in the last two years.

A Korla resident, who declined to be named for safety reasons, told RFA that the health of inmates incarcerated in city prisons had deteriorated due to low-quality food, the intensity of prison labor, long political study sessions, and endless interrogations. 

Huseyin was taken away for “re-education” in 2017 at a time when authorities were transforming internment camp centers in Korla into prisons, he said.

RFA contacted the Qarayulghun police station in Korla for a list of inmates who died in 2021 and 2022, but the political commissar refused to provide it. When asked for information about Huseyin, he said the police station in the district where the preacher used to reside could provide it.

“I cannot send you that information,” he said. “There is no such thing.”

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