Database Entry: Elderly Uyghur widow serving 17-year term in Xinjiang women’s prison
Internment Religious Persecution Pretexts for Detention

Elderly Uyghur widow serving 17-year term in Xinjiang women’s prison

January 25, 2022
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Helchem Pazil, 78, is one of five women from the same family in Korla (in Chinese, Kuerle) who have been imprisoned for religious activities in which they participated in 2013, according to a verdict issued in April 2019 and recently seen by RFA.

They all were retroactively sentenced after China criminalized such activities in 2018 when it issued de-extremification regulations targeting Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang, purportedly, to prevent extremist violations and ensure social stability.

RFA reported Monday that Helchem’s daughters, Melikizat and Patigul Memet, are incarcerated in the same prison, serving sentences of 20 and seven years, respectively.

Melikizat was convicted of providing a venue for religious observance and taking part in it, while Patigul was convicted of “collectively bringing social disorder” by attending the services.

Another daughter, Zahire Memet, and a daughter-in-law, Bostan Ibrahim, were convicted of “disturbing public order and inciting ethnic hatred” and for “hearing and providing a venue for illegal religious preaching,” according to the verdict, though it is not clear where they are serving their sentences.

Helchem was charged with inciting ethnic discrimination, disturbing public order, providing a venue for religious preaching, and attending religious gatherings in a second-floor room of a hotel in Korla’s old bazaar.