Arbitrary justice in Xinjiang

Life imprisonment for brother of human rights activist Dolkun Isa (Press Release)

According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the life sentence against Hushtar Isa is an arbitrary intimidation attempt. On Saturday, Radio Free Asia had reported on the conviction of the brother of Dolkun Isa, President of the Uyghur World Congress.  "The judgement has nothing to do with him as an individual – it is an obvious attempt to intimidate a human rights activist of international renown. The Chinese government will do everything in its power to silence him," stated Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, in Göttingen on Monday. "Hushtar Isa didn't do anything wrong. His only crime is to be Dolkun Isa's brother. China is trying to intimidate Uyghurs in exile who try to support their family members and their community." Hushtar Isa, who worked as a driving instructor, was arrested in 2017 – based on charges of incitement of terrorism – and detained in a reeducation-camp in Xinjiang / East Turkestan for two years. Since then, Dolkun Isa hadn't heard anything from him. Radio Free Asia had reported on the sentence against Hushtar Isa on Saturday. 

In 2018, Dolkun Isa – who has been a German citizen since 2006 and has campaigned peacefully for human rights for decades – was informed that his 78-year-old mother had died in a re-education camp. In 2020, he learned of the death of his 90-year-old father from a Chinese propaganda leaflet. "Apart from the reeducation camps, the prison system in Xinjiang was expanded as well – as a means to harass the Uyghurs and the Kazakhs even more," Schedler criticized. In August 2019, the New York Times had reported (based on an analysis of official figures) that about 230.000 people must have been sentenced to prison terms in Xinjiang / East Turkestan in 2017 and 2018: at least a five-fold increase compared to previous years. "The Chinese government is trying to give the impression that the repression of the Muslim nationalities is subject to a rule of law, but the court proceedings do not meet the standards of a rule of law at all. The case of Hushtar Isa is one of many examples for China's common practice of using the law against its own people," Schedler added.