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China. Christian attorney was illegally and unreasonably refused access to Alimujiang by prison officials.

In Urumqi, Xinjiang on August 12, 2012, an attorney from Beijing applied according to legal process to meet with Alimujiang Yimiti, the prominent Uighur Christian house church leader, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Prison No. 3 of Xinjiang. The attorney was illegally and unreasonably refused access to Alimujiang by prison officials.

At about 10 a.m. on August 12, 2012, the Christian attorney hired by Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer, came to the Prison Section of Xinjiang Autonomous Region Bureau of Prison Administration with application papers to meet with Alimujiang. He found Section Chief He who is in charge of processing papers to meet with inmates who are serving their sentences in the prison. The attorney presented his application papers for the meeting. Section Chief He disappeared into other offices for nearly an hour. At about 11 o’clock, Section Chief He, with a booklet in his hand, said to the attorney: “According to the stipulation of the Ministry of Justice, when someone wants to meet with an inmate serving his or her time in prison in order to represent him or her in a lawsuit, he must get the approval and authorization from the inmate himself before he can meet with the inmate. So you can go to Prison No. 3 of Xinjiang and apply there to meet with Alimujiang and you don’t need to come to our Bureau of Prison Administration.”

Then, the attorney and Gulinuer went to Prison No. 3 of Xinjiang and applied to meet with Alimujiang there. When they arrived the prison administrators were in a meeting. At about 12:00 noon as employees were leaving work for the morning, the administrators of the prison made arrangements for the attorney to see Section Chief Wang from the Prison Section in charge of inmates. They brought the attorney to the office of the deputy director of the prison and pretended to discuss the matter for a while in front of the attorney and then said the attorney could meet with the inmate and that they would process the papers at 3:30 p.m. when they came back to work for the rest of the day.

At 3:30 p.m. the attorney came to the office of Section Chief Wang of the prison section in charge of prisoners. Wang took out a notebook in which a few sentences were written. A police officer next to them videotaped the attorney and Section Chief Wang, and recorded all of Wang’s answers to the attorney. Section Chief Wang said to the attorney: “After reviewing the case, we have decided not to allow the attorney to meet with Alimujiang because this case involves state secrets. The attorney discussing the case with Alimujiang itself is state secrets. Therefore, the attorney is not allowed to meet with him.

When Section Chief Wang read these words from his notebook, the attorney noticed that his lips were trembling severely. Perhaps Section Chief Wang’s conscience was accusing him.

When Section Chief Wang finished his words, this Christian human rights attorney said to Wang: “I lodge my strongest protest against such an act of yours that violates the law, the regulations and against your illegal deprivation of the legitimate rights of the inmates and the attorney!”

When the attorney finished his words, Section Chief Wang asked the attorney: “Do you need me to read again the regulations of the Ministry of Justice on meeting the inmates?” The attorney said: “There is no such a need. The law is fixed and rigid, but man is flexible. The law’s enforcement depends on man. When the law enforcement people lose their conscience and the bottom-line for ethical behavior, the law means nothing.” After speaking these words, the attorney and Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer left the prison together.

On September 13, 2007, Xinjiang Kashi Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs concluded: “Since 2002, Alimujiang Yimiti has been engaged in illegal religious infiltration activities in Kashi area in the name of work. He preached Christianity, distributed religious propaganda materials and converted people to Christianity among ethnic Uighurs.” (See a document issued by Kashi Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs on September 13, 2007.)

Then on January 12, 2008, Kashi Municipal Public Security Bureau placed Alimujiang in criminal detention on two charges of “suspected of inciting the secession of the state,” and “illegally provided state secrets to foreigners.” On February 20, he was formally arrested at the direction of the procuratorate.

On September 12, 2008, the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reached a decision with regard to Alimujiang’s case, and issued Document No. 29 for the year 2008, and determined that Alimujiang was arbitrarily detained.

On August 6, 2009, Kashi District Intermediate Court secretly sentenced Alimujiang to 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of “illegally providing state secrets to a foreigner” (punishment is measured according to top secrets). The court in Kashi did not notify Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer and his attorney Mr. Li Dunyong of the verdict and sentence until October 27. Alimujiang appealed and his new attorney was the prominent human rights attorney Mr. Li Baiguang.

On March 16, 2010, the verdict of Kashi District Intermediate Court was sustained by the High People’s Court of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region convening as a closed court while refusing to permit Alimujiang’s attorney to present his case in court. Alimujiang was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of deprivation of his political rights.

On April 12, 2010, Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer received a phone call that notified her Alimujiang had been transferred from Kashi Detention Center to serve his sentence at Xinjiang Prison No. 3.

In November 2010, Xinjiang High People’s Court accepted the appeal of Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer and his mother Wuxiuerhan and decided to retry Alimujiang’s case of “disclosing top state secrets.” At the request of his family members, Gongxin Law Firm of Beijing that had represented Alimujiang throughout this case sent its attorney, and they arrived in Urumqi on November 17. The head of this law firm is the prominent Christian attorney Dr. Li Baiguang who has met the US President George W. Bush twice.

After Christmas 2010, Xinjiang High People’s Court notified Gulinuer that they had made a decision on this case on December 20 in a collegial panel.

In February 2011, Xinjiang High People’s Court notified Alimujiang Yimiti, who was serving his sentence, that his original sentence of 15 years imprisonment was sustained.

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