Database Entry: Retired Uyghur civil servant dies shortly after release from detention
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Retired Uyghur civil servant dies shortly after release from detention

January 10, 2022
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A Uyghur post office retiree interned in a detention camp in China’s far-western Xinjiang region in 2018 on suspicion of religious extremism died in December 2021 following his release, Uyghurs and local officials with knowledge of the situation said.

Ghiyasidin Abla, 69, was from Suntagh village in Atush (in Chinese, Atushi), capital of the Kizilsu Kyrghiz Autonomous Prefecture, and was abducted by authorities while he attended a circumcision ceremony in his neighborhood, said a Uyghur from Atush who now lives in exile abroad.

Ghiyasidin had no health issues when he was arrested, but when he was released in September 2021, he was unable to walk. He died a month later of unknown causes, said the source who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by Chinese authorities.

At the time of Ghiyasidin’s arrest, Chinese authorities had limited the number of Uyghurs who could attend weddings, funerals and other religious ceremonies, such as circumcisions, at any one time. Ghiyasidin was detained along with other attendees of the ceremony because they had exceeded the allowed limit, the source said.

Ghiyasidin’s children had expected their father to be released after a few days but they received no information about him for three months, the source said. They eventually discovered he was sent to a detention camp.

The women’s affairs director and the security director of Suntagh village both each confirmed the circumstances of Ghiyasidin’s arrest and his later death.

“He died at home,” said the security director. “He was 69. He used to work at the post office. He was a retiree from the post office.”

Besides attending the circumcision ceremony, “they arrested him for also growing a beard,” he said.