Rabiye Qadir , former president of World Uyghur Congress
I recently received an anonymous message about a prison escape in Korla, East Turkistan, in which three policemen and ten prisoners were killed, and five prisoners escaped. At first, I found this hard to believe, considering the current structure and strict system of Chinese prisons.
Ten days later, a message spread on social media that the Korla Police Department was looking for a fugitive named Mahmut Moydun. The arrest warrant stated that the fugitive was wearing a prisoner’s uniform. Last weekend, Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Uyghur Service reported that Mahmut Moydun, who had escaped Karla's 29th prison, had been arrested in 2017 and was serving a 17-year sentence. Today, I received another message about the incident from the same source, stating that the escape took place in the work area of the prison. Additionally, two escapees reported themselves to the police, and two were caught while hiding. Mahmut Moydun is still wanted. The identities of the four detained are as follows: Ahmetjan Barat (29), Qamirdin Ghalib (42), Toxti Hekim (25), and Burhan Khizr (27).
To date, the information I have received, the news from RFA, and China’s arrest warrants are complementary. In mid-October, there was a serious bloody incident in a prison, either in Korla or in an area under its control. I call on the Chinese authorities, who claim their state by governing by the rule of law, to give a public account of this bloody incident to the Chinese and international communities.
Of course, this is not a random and isolated event. As someone who has observed the Uyghur situation and spent six years in a Chinese prison, I believe that such conflicts and tragedies continue between the bloodthirsty police and helpless prisoners. I have witnessed such scenes many times.
Therefore, I urge international journalists to question this incident from the Chinese side and international human rights organizations to investigate and respond to this incident.
I also want to remind the international community that China converted most of the concentration camps established in 2017 to prisons by the end of 2019 as a result of international pressure.
As RFA confirmed information about Mahmut Moydun, the 15 “criminals” who escaped from prison were among the 3 million innocent people who were seen as a threat to the stability of the country and imprisoned because of their religious beliefs. I ask the embassies of all the countries currently serving in Beijing to pay attention to the sad fate of these people and urge them not to forget their duty as ambassadors, not only for their country but also for humanity.