Heavy jail penalties for trumped-up charges: our exclusive series of testimonies from ethnic Kazakhs persecuted in China continues.
by Serikzhan Bilash and Karima Abdrakhmova*
*Galman Kochiigit, Bekzat Maxutkan, Gulzhan Toktassyn, Galym Rakizhan, and Tilek Niyazbek cooperated with the interviews and in preparing this series.
Yerbol Abdiken is a resident of Kazakhstan from 2000. We interviewed him about his two cousins, Kairat Audygan and Zharkyn Audygan. Both of them are victims of the CCP persecution and genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
Kairat Audygan is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, born on November 15, 1965, and a resident of apartment 101, 2nd entrance, Serzhan street, township of Kuertis, Koktokay (Ch. Fujun) county, in Altay prefecture, which is a part of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang.
Kairat was sentenced to six years in jail for having transferred 2,000 or 3,000 RMB to a Kazakh fund to honor Zuka Batyr, a national hero who fought for the independence of Kazakhstan from 1909 to 1929, and having visited Kazakhstan several times.
Zharkyn Audygan, born on August 24, 1971, is a resident of house 176 in the same street where Kairat lives. He worked in the agriculture administration.
Zharkyn was detained on March 14, 2017. He was accused of visiting Kazakhstan several times, and keeping about 3,000 documents endangering the state security of China in his laptop, which amounted to espionage. When he crossed the border to Kazakhstan on January 20, 2017, he had a laptop, which he was allowed to take to Kazakhstan. Yerbol claims there were no “secret documents” there.
But when Zharkyn was on his way back to China, on March 14, 2017, his laptop was confiscated at the Jeminey county’s border. The laptop was thoroughly checked without his presence for more than three hours. After checking the laptop, the officers announced that they had found “secret documents” and Islamic sermons there.
Zharkyn vehemently denied having any “secret documents” in his laptop, but he was detained, accused of being a spy, and tried at a closed-door trial and without a lawyer for the serious crime of espionage. He was sentenced to 17 years in jail.
Since then, Yerbol has not been able to get any information about his cousins. The father of the two imprisoned men, Audygan Akkoja, was not able to cope with the tragedy vested on his family and fell ill. He died on July 15 last. Kairat’s and Zharkyn’s wives and children are in Kazakhstan, but live in a destitute situation, as the men were the only breadwinners in their families.
Yerbol hopes that human rights organization throughout the world may protest for the unjust detention of Kairat and Zharkyn.
*Karima Abdrakhmanova was born in 1962 in Taraz, Kazakhstan, and lives in Petropavlosk, in North Kazakhstan. She graduated in 1985 from Kyrgyz Pedagogical Women Institute and is a teacher of English language.