Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have sentenced a prominent Uyghur businessman and philanthropist to death for taking an unsanctioned Muslim holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to his brother.
Abdughapar Abdurusul, of Bakyol district in Ili Kazakh (in Chinese, Yili Hasake) Autonomous Prefecture’s Ghulja (Yining) city, “was arrested in July or August,” his brother Abdusattar Abdurusul recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service, citing Abdughapar’s Kazakh business partners living in Kazakhstan’s Almaty city.
“The latest I heard is that my brother has been given a death sentence and he is waiting for his execution to be carried out … The reason is that he went to perform hajj on his own [instead of joining a state-sanctioned tour group],” he added, referring to the annual Muslim holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
According to Abdusattar Abdurusul, his brother was provided with “no lawyer” during a “group trial,” suggesting he had been illegally sentenced to death. All death sentences should be reviewed by China’s Supreme Court in Beijing, but it is unclear whether Abdughapar Abdurusul’s case has been examined.
Abdughapar Abdurusul, a 42-year-old father of four, owns several shops and businesses, and multiple properties, his brother said, and had used some of the money he earned to build a mosque for the local community in recent years.
Abdughapar Abdurusul had also sold an old family home for around 1 million yuan (U.S. $144,000) in April or May, and was living comfortably before he was arrested and all of his family’s assets—totaling around 100 million yuan (U.S. $14.4 million)—were seized, he said.