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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 13:11 GMT
China jails Uighur activist's son
Rebiya Kadeer
Ms Kadeer says China is harassing her family
The son of a well-known campaigner for the rights of China's Uighur minority has been jailed for tax evasion in the country's north-west Xinjiang province.

Alimu Ahbudurimu, son of Rebiya Kadeer, was jailed for seven years and fined for evading some $26,000 (13,600) in taxes, Chinese state media report.

Another of Ms Kadeer's children, Kahaer Ahbudurimu, was also sentenced and given a hefty fine, but was not jailed.

Rights activists accused China of seeking revenge for Ms Kadeer's work.

"It's clear retribution for Rebiya Kadeer's advocacy on behalf of Uighurs," Nicholas Bequelin, of Human Rights Watch, told Reuters news agency.

"We have great doubt about the fairness of the trial and they have not been able to get meaningful legal representation."

Campaigner

The two brothers were found guilty of tax evasion while managing family businesses in the Xinjiang provincial capital, Urumqi, China's Xinhua news agency reports. The businesses were also fined.

Alimu Ahbudurimu received a $62,000 fine as well as a seven year prison sentence, while Kahaer Ahbudurimu was fined $12,500.

CHINA'S UIGHURS
map
Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991

Rebiya Kadeer was a successful businesswoman before she fell foul of China's authorities, who jailed her in 2000 for "leaking state secrets".

She moved to the US after being freed from a Chinese prison in 2005 and continues to campaign for the rights of the eight million Uighurs living in China, mainly in the poor Xinjiang region.

Although she does not openly campaign for an independent Uighur state, China has accused her of "conspiring with separatists", a charge she denies.

Ms Kadeer - who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year - said in May that two sons and a daughter had been taken into custody to stop them speaking to a US Congressional team visiting Xinjiang.

The Uighurs, Turkic-speaking Muslims, enjoyed a brief period of independence in the 1940s, calling their state the Republic of East Turkestan.

Some Uighurs are eager to re-establish an independent Islamic nation, and Xinjiang suffers periodic separatist violence which China is eager to suppress.


SEE ALSO
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24 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China's grip on Xinjiang Muslims
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China 'crushing Muslim Uighurs'
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China frees top Uighur prisoner
17 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China's intolerance of dissent
07 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
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15 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific

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