Public Statement: World Uyghur Congress Condemns Arbitrary Detention of Dr. Gulshan Abbas

September 11, marks the 5th anniversary of Dr. Gulshan Abbas’ unjust imprisonment by the Chinese government. In 2018, Dr. Abbas, a retired medical doctor, was disappeared in Urumchi by Chinese authorities and taken to one of the many Chinese concentration camps where Uyghurs are subjected to inhumane conditions, torture, sexual abuse and forced labour.
“The Chinese government is using our families to pressure us into silence. Uyghurs who choose to speak about China’s crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghurs are paying a heavy price”, said World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa.
Dr. Abbas’ disappearance is believed to be a form of retaliation against her sister Rushan Abbas’s activism. Chinese authorities are increasingly making use of transnational repression and enforced disappearances, in an attempt to silence Uyghurs from speaking out against China’s human rights atrocities. Chinese overseas police gather intelligence that can be used to threaten, intimidate and detain family members back home. According to the 2021 China Report of Freedom House, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) conducts the “most sophisticated, widespread and comprehensive campaign of transnational repression in the world”.
Dr. Abbas’ imprisonment follows a harrowing pattern of enforced disappearances of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan. In March 2019, Dr. Abbas was reportedly sentenced to 20 years in prison, convicted of “participating in a terrorist organisation”, “aiding terrorist activities”, and “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order”. Since 2017 hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs have been arbitrarily detained and are subjected to enforced disappearance, under bogus charges, as part of the Chinese government’s campaign against “terrorism and extremism”. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found in their 2022 opinion that Dr. Abbas, as well as two other Uyghurs – Qurban Mamut, and Ekpar Asat – are victims of enforced disappearances and had been arbitrarily detained, likely because of their foreign connections outside of China.
The World Uyghur Congress condemns the arbitrary detention of Dr. Abbas and countless Uyghurs and other ethnic groups by the Chinese government. We send our unwavering support to her sister Rushan Abbas, her daughters and the entire family, who are enduring unimaginable hardship since Dr. Abbas’ imprisonment. The WUC furthermore calls for her immediate and unconditional release.

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