Uyghur Billionaire Jailed For 20 Years Over Charitable Donations

Iminjan Rahmitulla had built major shopping bazaars and opened markets in Central Asia.

Uyghur Billionaire Jailed For 20 Years Over Charitable Donations

A Uyghur entrepreneur in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) was jailed for 20 years for “supporting terrorists” for donations he gave to the wives and children of Uyghur prisoners, sources in the region told RFA.

Iminjan Rahmitulla founder of a shopping mall and one of the founders of the famous Grand Bazaar in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) city, was one of four ethnic Uyghur billionaires tried and sentenced in Atush (Atushi) in April, the Norway-based “Uyghuryar” Foundation told RFA.

The other three billionaires — Rehmutulla Semet, Abdusopur Semet, Musajan Imam — were sentenced for engaging in separatist activities, with the two Semet brothers receiving 20-year jail terms, and Musjan jailed for 17 years.

Iminjan was reported detained in late 2018, and after a two-year investigation, he was tried and sentenced, said Uyghuryar founder Abduweli Ayup.

Iminjan’s sister, Nurgul Rahmitulla, and his daughter also were detained with him, according to Abduweli and an official who works in politics and law in Atush, the main city of the XUAR’s Kizilsu Kirghiz (Kezileisu Keerkezi) Autonomous Prefecture.

The official, who declined to be named, confirmed that Iminjan was one of four prominent entrepreneurs tried in April and said that he owned two buildings under the name of Bughra Commercial Market, which were in operation up to the time he was tried.

The official also said that Iminjan had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, but he was unable to provide any details about his sister and daughter.

Iminjan confessed to a number of “crimes” in exchange for his daughter’s release, Abduweli said.

“Initially, under duress from torture, Iminjan said that if they let his daughter go, he would agree to sign [a confession for crimes],” he told RFA. “However, there is information suggesting that even after he signed and admitted to all these “crimes,” his daughter was … sentenced to prison herself.”

Officials at the Atush Intermediate People’s Court and the Kizilsu Provincial Intermediate People’s Court said they were aware of Iminjan’s trial and sentence, but declined further comment.

Born in 1962, Iminjan Rahmitulla graduated from the Xinjiang Finance University and later started a career in the fruit business, according to Abudweli.

“After that, he worked for the government for a period, and then he began engaging in business,” he said.

Iminjan invested 50 million yuan (U.S. $7.8 million) to establish the Fujiang Fruit Company, Abudweli told RFA. He also founded other companies, including Bughra Agricultural Products and Bughra Real Estate Company.

Bughra Agricultural Products had a market by the same name in Atush. He also built the Grand Bazaar in Kashgar, similar to the bazaar in the XUAR’s capital Urumqi, and the Bughra shopping mall in Atush.

In all, Iminjan owned nine companies, which created job opportunities for residents of local Uyghur communities, Abudweli said. In addition to working in several different fields, he played a leading role in introducing agricultural and other products from the southern XUAR to markets in Central Asia.

“Bughra Agricultural Products was recognized as a leading company among companies in the Uyghur Autonomous Region,” Abudweli said.

“He made commodities out of the things used by Uyghur farmers and got them into external markets in Central Asia, and brought great profit to Uyghurs,” he said. “In addition to this, the bazaars he built in Kashgar and Atush created jobs for many young Uyghurs.”

Like other Uyghur business people in the XUAR, Iminjan was arrested because of his charity work, Abduweli Ayup said. Chinese authorities tried him on charges of “supporting terrorists” and “preparing for terrorism” because he had donated money to the wives and children of Uyghur prisoners, though Iminjan did so as a form of paying zakat, or a tithe, on his property.

“We heard from his friends and acquaintances about how he helped others, particularly about how grateful his neighbors and members of Uyghur society were for the help he had given to the sick, to people who couldn’t pay for their own medicine, and to orphans,” Abduweli said.

Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by RFA’s Uyghur Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Ousted Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Goes on Trial in Naypyidaw

Human Rights Watch calls the trial a move by Myanmar's military to remove any chance of future opposition to its rule.

Ousted Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Goes on Trial in Naypyidaw

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, former national leaders deposed in a February 1 military coup, went on trial in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw on Monday, with rights groups calling the charges against the pair “bogus” and politically motivated, sources said.

Meeting in a session closed to the public, the court heard three charges of alleged violations of Myanmar’s Disaster Management Law, Telecommunications Law, and Import/Export Law, defense attorney Min Min Soe told reporters after the day’s hearing.

“The trial opened at about 10:20 a.m. with [a reading of] the charge against the President under Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law, and this was followed by the case of Amay Suu, who was charged under the same law,” Min Min Soe said, using an honorific to refer to the former de facto national leader and democracy icon.

After a short recess, the trial resumed at 1:45 with Myanmar police captain Kyi Lwin giving testimony against Aung San Suu Kyi related to a charge under Section 67 of the Telecommunications Law, Min Min Soe said, with another witness later giving testimony related to a charge against her under Section 8 of the Import/Export Law.

“Today’s session only heard witnesses for the prosecution,” the defense attorney said, adding that Aung San Suu Kyi appeared to be in good health apart from what he described as a “minor dental issue.” The trial will resume Monday, he said.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for the rights group Human Rights Watch, called the criminal charges filed by the court against Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD), “bogus, and politically motivated by the intention to nullify her landslide election victory in the November 2020 election and prevent her from ever running for office again.”

Aung San Suu Kyi should be immediately and unconditionally released, with all charges against her dropped, Robertson said in a statement Monday.

“But sadly, with the restrictions on access to her lawyers, and the case being heard in front of a court that is wholly beholden to the military junta, there is little likelihood she will receive a fair trial,” Robertson said.

“This trial is clearly the opening salvo in an overall strategy to neuter Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy party as a force that can challenge military rule in the future.”

Multiple charges

Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged in five cases in Naypyidaw and one in the former Myanmar capital Yangon for allegedly violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and with bribery, incitement and sedition, violation of the telecommunication laws, possession of unlicensed walkie-talkie radios, and violations of protocols set up to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The most serious charge against the 75-year-old Nobel laureate, for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act, carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Myanmar’s military has defended its government takeover, claiming without evidence that the NLD’s landslide victory in the country’s November elections was the result of voter fraud, and authorities have responded to widespread protests against its coup with violent crackdowns that have killed more than 850 people.

On Monday, the lawyer for Nathan Maung, a U.S. journalist arrested three months ago in Myanmar while working for a local online news service, said a court has now freed Maung and dropped all charges against him.

Maung will be deported from the country on Tuesday, according to attorney Tin Zar Oo, wire service reports said on Monday.

Myanmar national Hanthar Nyein, a colleague arrested with Maung, and Danny Fenster, a U.S. journalist and managing editor for the print and online magazine Frontier Myanmar, remain in military custody, sources said.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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