(Urumqi, Xinijang—Oct. 31, 2014) After a mid-August visit with her husband, jailed Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang Yimiti, Gulinuer reported to China Aid that Alimujiang, who is serving a 15-year sentence, is still being kept from meeting with his lawyers, whom he last met with in 2012.
From the time he was criminally detained in January 2008, authorities hampered Alimujiang’s access to a lawyer. The first time he was allowed to meet with a lawyer after his detention was on April 28, 2008, more than three months after the initial 48 hours of confinement during which authorities are required to allow access to counsel.
Gulinuer told China Aid that the last time her husband Alimujiang was allowed to see his lawyer was in 2012. In addition, Gulinuer’s visits to her husband in prison were cutback to once every three months at the beginning of 2013. This policy is a direct violation of Chinese law, which mandates that families are allowed to visit incarcerated individuals once a month.
Gulinuer said that while Alimujiang appeared to be in good health, she is still concerned for his overall wellbeing.
When she spoke to her husband about the support they have received worldwide, he asked her to share his thanks and gratitude with all those who have expressed concern for their family. The couple’s sons and Alimujiang’s mother accompanied Gulinuer on her August visit and plan to do so again for the next planned visit in November.
Alimujiang’s experiences maneuvering through the legal system have been an arduous journey. His initial detention and formal arrest in early 2008 were based on accusations of “engaging in illegal religious infiltration activities in Kashgar, spreading Christianity among the Uyghurs, and distributing religious propaganda materials to increase the number of Christians” by the Kashgar Municipal Commission of Ethics and Religious Affairs in late 2007.
Alimujiang was secretly tried in May 2008, and Gulinuer, the couple’s two sons and Alimujiang’s lawyer were barred from attending the proceedings. After the first trial, the case was turned back over to the Kashgar police due to insufficient evidence.
His second secret trial on July 28, 2009, was prompted by the renewal of the charge of “unlawfully providing state secrets to overseas organizations” on July 11, 2009. During that time, the separatism charge was dropped. Alimujiang was finally sentenced on Aug. 6, 2009; however, his family and lawyer did not learn of the trial until October 2009 and then only learned of the sentence that December.