A Uyghur Christian, Alimujiang Yimiti, from Kashgar in China’s north-west Xinjiang province has been released from prison after serving a 15-year sentence.
According to Texas-based China Aid Association, the Uyghur house church pastor is home with his family, but other details remain unconfirmed.
Alimujiang Yimiti, also known as Alim, converted from Islam to Christianity in 1995. He was detained in 2008 and accused of inciting separatism and leaking state secrets.
ChinaAid report the accusations followed a conversation Yimiti had with an American colleague about an interview he had with local authorities concerning his preaching activities.
‘His work in Xinjiang painted a target on his back’, ChinaAid report, ‘as the Chinese government began to scrutinize Uyghurs in the area’.
In 2007, authorities initially accused Alim of using his business to “infiltrate” Christian ideology into Kashgar. Twice before his final sentencing in August 2009, ChinaAid say the Court in Kashgar secretly tried Alim.
‘After the first trial, they decided there was not enough evidence to convict him’, ChinaAid state. ‘The prosecution decided to drop his separatism charge and tried him a second time a year later’. Alim’s family was prohibited from attending either secret trial.
China’s crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, also known as East Turkistan, have been widely reported, based on survivor and police guard testimony.
An estimated 1-2 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic-speaking ethnic minorities are kept in detention camps.
According to witness testimonies in the Uyghur Tribunal in 2021 chaired by former UN War Crimes prosecutor, Sir Geoffrey Nice KC, prisoners were forcefully sterilized, tortured, and “re-educated.”