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Statement by the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) Maria Arena on the incommunicado detention and possible execution of citizens in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China.

“I am alarmed by the reported possible imminent execution of Tashpolat Tiyip, a prominent Uyghur academic and former President of Xinjiang University. He was convicted in a secret and unfair trial, following his enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention since 2017. Following his “suspended death sentence”, which includes the possibility of commutation after two years imprisonment, he now reportedly faces imminent execution.

I remain equally concerned about other incommunicado detentions and harsh sentences handed down to the former director of the Xinjiang Education Supervision Bureau Satar Sawut, who may also be threatened by execution, as well as the case of writer and critic Yalqun Rozi, who is serving a life sentence because of unclear charges. I regard their detention as arbitrary and unjustified and they should be released, similarly to the alarmingly high number of Uyghur intellectuals and citizens who are in detention.

I call on the Chinese authorities to immediately halt any planned executions and provide credible information about the whereabouts of these citizens. The authorities should also ensure legal counsel of the detainees’ choice and access to family members. Any arrests and court proceedings should be addressed in a manner fully consistent with internationally recognised standards of due process and fair trial.”