Munawwar Ablimit is a Uyghur mother of two from the prefecture-level city of Karamay (in Chinese, Kelemayi) in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In 2017, her husband Polat Ibrahim was sent to an internment camp, where authorities have detained as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas beginning that year. In February of 2017, Ibrahim fell into a coma, was sent by camp authorities for 20 days of medical treatment and then released to his home, where he died 10 days later.
China has described the camps as “boarding schools” that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage radicalization, and help protect the country from terrorism, but reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service suggests that people are detained against their will, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers, and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities.
Ablimit, who currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey, recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service that she believes her husband may have died as a result of injuries he sustained during interrogations at his camp. She also revealed that all five of her younger siblings have been detained by authorities since she fled the XUAR. Read more