A son of exiled Muslim rights activist Rebiya Kadeer has been tortured and forced to confess to attempts to separate the Muslim Xinjiang region from China, Amnesty International said yesterday.
Alim Abdiriyim confessed under torture on July 1, the international rights group said in a statement. Separatism carries a much harsher penalty than his original charge of tax fraud.
Amnesty cited a US-based non-governmental organization, the Uighur Human Rights Project, as saying Alim Abdiriyim may need urgent medical attention for injuries sustained during torture.
Another of Kadeer's sons, Ablikim Abdiriyim, is reportedly still hospitalized after being beaten by police early last month, soon after he was detained.
He has been charged with "subversion," also a serious political charge, in addition to a tax fraud charge.
A spokesman for the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau's publicity department confirmed the two men and their brother Kahar Abdiriyim have been arrested, but said he did not know any details.
A state-run Web site reported last month that police arrested the men on charges of evading 8.07 million yuan (US$1 million) in taxes and owing another 21.6 million yuan in back taxes. They were formally charged on June 13.
The US State Department has expressed concern for the safety of the trio, who are all in their 30s, saying at least one may have been beaten in custody.
Kadeer was imprisoned and accused of leaking "state secrets" to a US congressional delegation visiting the region in the 1990s. She was freed after six years in prison and allowed to go into exile to the US in March last year.
Before her release, she was warned that if she engaged with members of the Uighur ethnic community or spoke publicly about "sensitive issues" after her release, her "businesses and children will be finished.
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