Munawwar Ablimit, an Uyghur mother-of-two from the prefecture-level city of Karamay (in Chinese, Kelemayi) in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) recalls the death of her husband shortly after being sent to an internment camp.
Her husband Polat Ibrahim was sent to an internment camp in early 2017. In February of the same year Ibrahim fell into a coma, was sent by camp authorities for 20 days of medical treatment and then released to his home. He died 10 days later.
Chinese authorities have detained as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas to internment camps that they describe as “boarding schools”.
Detainees have called it prisons, where people are detained against their will, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers, and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities.
Munawwar’s troubles started in 2015 when she accompanied her two children to Turkey to look into schools were they wish to study.
Upon returning alone to Xinjiang, security officials came looking for her and started their interrogation. They asked why she had been to Turkey and asked what she had done there. She told them about her children’s’ dream to study and left her alone for four months.
Then out of nowhere, personnel from the Public Security Bureau showed up to interrogate her again. They questioned her for four consecutive days and insisted that her children come back.
Fearing that the interrogation will lead to the confiscation of her passport, she travelled to Turkey again in 2016 to make sure that her children will not be stranded parentless in a foreign country.
Upon learning of her return to Turkey, the Chinese authorities took her husband Polat instead to one of the camps where he was apparently interrogated, tortured and as a result has died.
Upon Polat’s death the authorities also imprisoned members of his family. One his brother also died in prison for still unknown reason.
Munawwar now lives in Turkey with her two children.
Meanwhile her brothers and sisters were also arrested by Chinese authorities and sent to the internment camps for “reeducation”.
Munawwar now hopes that the international community will stand up for the Uyghurs and not let China get away with the oppression of her people. (Source: RFA)