Adil Tuniyaz

Name: Adil (Adiljan Tuniyaz)

Country/Area of Origin: China

Background: Adil Tuniyaz, 47, is a reputable Uyghur poet, author, and journalist from Kaghilik, Xinjiang

Reason for Arrest:

In late December 2017, likely on the 25th, Tuniyaz was arrested along with his wife, Nezire Muhammad Salih, and his eldest son Imran. Multiple sources claim that the couple was detained for their translation of religious materials into the Uyghur language. Prior to the arrest, Tuniyaz and his wife also owned and operated the “Light and Pen” bookstore in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Tuniyaz was charged with “promoting terrorism and religious extremism” and has been in detention since his arrest, though his location is undisclosed.

Following the arrest of Tuniyaz, his wife, and one of his sons, the three remaining younger children – Ihpal, Ihsan, and Ilyas – are currently residing at a state-run orphanage for Uyghur children whose family members are detained.

It is important to note that Adil Tuniyaz was arrested on the same day that his father-in-law, notable Uyghur religious scholar Muhammad Sailh Hajim, was arrested on the same charges. Tuniyaz’s wife and Hajim’s daughter, Nezire Salih, followed in the path of her father and was also a religious scholar. Her whereabouts are similarly unknown. In fact, a handful of Muhammad Hajim’s relatives have been arrested since December 25, including his other daughter Asiye Mehmet, his 80-year-old brother Mehsud Abley and his 75-year-old wife Ayshemqiz Hajim, and the couple’s son Nurmemet Hajim.

In February 2018, a Chinese police officer informed Tuniyaz’s family – those that remain free – that they should not be hopeful for his release, as the accusations against him and his wife are serious.

Latest Updates:

  • On 12 May 2021, USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel adopted Adil Tuniyaz through the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project, and released the following statement:
    • “The Chinese Communist Party has determined that an independent Uyghur identity is an existential threat. This is why they have arbitrarily detained millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in concentration camps. Uyghurs, such as Adil Tuniyaz and his family, are specifically targeted by this ruthless regime as part of its campaign to sinicize and eradicate a distinct Uyghur ethno-religious identity. USCIRF calls on Chinese authorities to release Mr. Tuniyaz and his family and end the cruel detention of millions of Uyghurs immediately.”