Name: Alimjan Yimit (in Chinese: Alimujiang Yimit)
Country/Area of Origin: Xinjiang province, China.
Background: Mr. Yimit is church leader of Uyghur ethnicity.
Reason for Arrest:
Kashgar/Kashi Police arrested Mr. Yimit on January 2008. He was accused of “leaking state secrets” under Article 103 and 111 of the Chinese Criminal Code. The Working Group on Arbitrary detentions has recognized that Mr. Yimit is being held “solely for his religious faith and religious activities.” Mr. Yimit is currently detained in Kashga prison
Alimujiang Yimiti is a Uyghur Christian who converted from Islam in 1995. He and his wife, Gulinuer, were the leaders of a house church ministry in Kashgar, Xinjiang in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Targeted for his minority faith and ethnicity, on January 12, 2008, the Kashgar police detained Alimujiang on “suspicion of inciting subversion of state power” and “leaking state secrets overseas.” He was formally arrested on those charges on February 28, 2008. Later, the charges were changed to “divulging state secrets to foreign individuals” based on a private conversation the Uyghur Christian pastor held with an American Christian friend.
In 2009, he was sentenced during secret trials to 15 years in prison and 5 years deprivation of political rights. In September 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that ‘the deprivation of liberty of Mr Alimujiang Yimiti is arbitrary, being in contravention of […] the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ and that he ‘is being kept in detention solely for his religious faith’. For the past several years, Yimiti’s wife has petitioned police officers, government officials, and state agencies, but the officers refused to see them, even barring Alimujiang’s lawyers from visiting him in prison. Yimiti’s quality of life in prison is poor; he was hospitalized in 2009, but prison authorities claimed that it was for a routine health check, even though witnesses claimed that there were signs of brutality. Moreover, on January 23, 2013, prison authorities informed his wife that her monthly visits were being reduced to once every three months, without providing a reason.
- In May 2020, Alimjan’s lawyer, Liang Xiaojun, revealed that his client should be released in two years:
- “When the trial went to court again a year later, the charge of inciting separatism was dropped, as they also found it ridiculous, but they still charged Alimjan with providing state secrets to foreign nationals. I asked the prosecutors in court: Where’s the evidence? The prosecution said that they had gotten it through wiretapping. I said, could we listen to the wiretapped content? The judge said that he himself hadn’t even heard it, and that it had been authenticated, and there wasn’t a need to hear it. Then the court handed down a sentence of 15 years. Alimjan will be released in two years from now.”
- In January 2020, Director and President of ChinaAid, Bob Fu, revealed that Alimjan told his family “that he thanks God for sending him to that prison so that he can continue to share the Gospel and live out the Gospel in these dark prisons.”
- Alimjan’s family is only permitted to meet with him face-to-face for a total of 15 minutes every three months. His wife revealed that though he is pale and has lost weight, he is in high spirits and requests prayer for himself and his family.