Three exiled Uighurs who will testify in court say they were subjected to forced abortions and torture in Xinjiang.
The three witnesses will testify via video at an independent hearing of the People’s Tribunal in London on Friday (June 4).
The special civilian tribunal, presided over by Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent human rights lawyer who led the prosecution of former Serbian President Milosevic at the former Yugoslavia War Crimes Criminal Tribunal, has no government involvement. Although the court’s decision has no legal force, organizers hope the process will bring the evidence to the public and prompt the international community to act.
Three Uighur exiles who will testify before the People’s Tribunal were interviewed by The Associated Press.
Bumeryem Rozi, a Uighur currently living in Istanbul, is the mother of four children. She told the AP that Xinjiang government authorities rounded up her and other pregnant women in 2007 and tried to force them to have abortions. Rozi, who was pregnant with her fifth child at the time, feared that if she refused, the government would confiscate their homes and property.
I was 6 1/2 months pregnant,” Ruzi told the Associated Press. The police came, one Uighur and two Han Chinese. They put me and eight other pregnant women in a car and took us to the hospital,” “They first gave me a pill to take. So I took it. I didn’t know what kind of medicine it was,” “and half an hour later they stuck a needle in my stomach. After a while, I lost my baby.”
Semsinur Gafur, an obstetrician and gynecologist who used to work at a rural hospital in Xinjiang, said she and other female clinicians used to go door-to-door with mobile ultrasound instruments to check if any women were pregnant.
“If a family had an overbirth, they would destroy the family. They would raze the house and destroy it,” Gafur said. “That’s my life there. It was very painful. Because I worked in a state-run hospital, the people didn’t trust me. The Uighurs thought I was a Chinese traitor.”
A third exiled Uighur, Mahmut Tevekkul, told the Associated Press that Chinese government authorities interrogated him in 2010 and asked him to give an account of one of his brothers. He said his brother had published a religious book in Arabic. He was beaten during the interrogation and struck in the face with his fist.
They made us lie on a brick floor, trapped our hands and feet and tied us to a pipe that looked like a gas line,” Twekul said. Six soldiers guarded us. They interrogated us until dawn and then took us to the maximum security area of the prison.”
Ruiz, Ghafoor and Tverkul are all scheduled to appear before an independent civilian court convened in London on Friday to testify about the genocide committed by the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang. Dozens of eyewitnesses will attend the four-day court hearing.
Ruiz also told The Associated Press that she is attending the hearing for a more personal reason. Her youngest son, who was 13 when he was detained by authorities in 2015, has not been released. She hopes the work of the People’s Court will one day set her son free.
The Chinese government denies trampling on human rights in Xinjiang. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday that the special court “is neither legal nor credible, and is just another anti-China farce concocted by a few people.