Fri, 17 Sep 2021

9 protesters held in Kazakhstan

14 May 2021, 10:37 GMT+10

Almaty [Kazakhstan], May 14 (ANI): Police have detained at least nine protesters in Kazakhstan's Almaty who have been staging demonstrations outside the Chinese consulate of the city to demand the release of their relatives held illegally in China.

Out of the nine protesters, two of the protesters, Baibolat Kunbolat and Tursungul Nuraqai, were released several hours after they were detained late on May 11. The whereabouts of the others are unknown, reported RFE/RL Kazakh Service.

Kunbolat said on Wednesday that the protesters, mainly women were detained after they demonstrated in front of the Chinese Consulate, a Chinese bank and a Chinese gasoline station in Almaty.

"I did not sign a protocol and did not write down any testimony. They let me go after 9:00 p.m. but ordered me to come back for questioning the next day," he said.

Several similar protests have taken place in Kazakhstan and people have demanded Kazakh authorities officially intervene in the situation faced by ethnic Kazakhs in Xinjiang, reported RFE/RL service.

Over a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities have been held in detention camps since 2017.

According to the US International Religious Freedom Report 2020, authorities subjected individuals to forced disappearance, political indoctrination, torture, physical and psychological abuse, including forced sterilization and sexual abuse, forced labor, and prolonged detention without trial because of their religion and ethnicity, according to the US report.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of hundreds of prominent Uyghur intellectuals, religious scholars, cultural figures, doctors, journalists, artists, academics, and other professionals, in addition to many other citizens who were arrested or detained, remained unknown, while reports of individuals dying as a result of injuries sustained during interrogations, medical neglect and torture came to the fore.

The government also harassed and threatened Uyghurs living abroad and threatened to retaliate against their families in Xinjiang if they did not spy on the expatriate community, return to Xinjiang, or stop speaking out about relatives in Xinjiang who had been detained or whose whereabouts were unknown.

Kazakhs are the second-largest Turkic-speaking indigenous community in Xinjiang after Uyghurs. The region is also home to ethnic Kyrgyz, Tajiks, and Hui, also known as Dungans. Han, China's largest ethnicity, is the second-largest community in Xinjiang. (ANI)

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