Detained Since: January 12, 2008.
Charges: Divulging state secrets to foreign individuals.
Sentence: Fifteen years in prison and five years' deprivation of political rights.
Biography: Alimujiang Yimiti is a Uyghur Christian who converted from Islam in 1995. He and his wife, Gulinuer, were the leaders of a house church ministry in Kashgar, Xinjiang in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Targeted for his minority faith and ethnicity, on January 12, 2008, the Kashgar police detained Alimujiang on “suspicion of inciting subversion of state power” and “leaking state secrets overseas.” He was formally arrested on those charges on February 28, 2008. Later, the charges were changed to “divulging state secrets to foreign individuals” based on a private conversation the Uyghur Christian pastor held with an American Christian friend.
In 2009, he was sentenced during secret trials to 15 years in prison and 5 years deprivation of political rights. In September 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that ‘the deprivation of liberty of Mr Alimujiang Yimiti is arbitrary, being in contravention of […] the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ and that he ‘is being kept in detention solely for his religious faith’. For the past several years, Yimiti’s wife has petitioned police officers, government officials, and state agencies, but the officers refused to see them, even barring Alimujiang’s lawyers from visiting him in prison. Yimiti’s quality of life in prison is poor; he was hospitalized in 2009, but prison authorities claimed that it was for a routine health check, even though witnesses claimed that there were signs of brutality. Moreover, on January 23, 2013, prison authorities informed his wife that her monthly visits were being reduced to once every three months, without providing a reason.
Advocate: Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)