Human rights

Uyghurs file criminal complaint against Chinese officials for human rights abuses

A group of Uyghurs living in Turkey whose relatives are either imprisoned or missing in China filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday with a Turkish prosecution against 112 Chinese government officials. They accused the 112 officials of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and rape in the far west of the Xinjiang region. The camp detainee forum, which includes Turkey-based Uyghur families or captives from the Uyghur camp, held a press conference outside the Çağlayan courthouse in Istanbul to announce the filing of the complaint of 19 Uyghurs for the purpose of to seek justice, Radio Free Asia reported.

It should be noted that Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, as well as Chen Quanguo, the former secretary of the Communist Party of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, are among the Chinese authorities mentioned in the lawsuit for their involvement in the mistreatment of 116 inmates.

In addition, the event brought together representatives of different Turkish political groups, lawyers and human rights defenders, Turkish civil society authorities, journalists and representatives of Uyghur organizations such as the Uyghur Meshrep Foundation. , the Union of Cities, the Federation of East Turkestanians, as well as the Human Rights Watch Association of East Turkestan.

The complaint of the 19 complainants was built on the concept of universal jurisdiction

According to Gülden Sönmez, human rights activist and lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case, the complaint was based on the concept of universal jurisdiction, which allows national courts to prosecute people for serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Sönmez told Radio Free Asia that she expects the Turkish justice system to issue arrest warrants against the 112 Chinese authorities and hold them to account for their alleged offenses.

Stressing the fact that “This is not a politically motivated case,” Sönmez explained, “Among the plaintiffs are our fellow Turks. Turkish justice has a duty to initiate legal proceedings involving at least Turkish citizens detained in China, ”Radio Free Asia reported.

China detained nearly 1.8 million Uyghurs and Turkish minorities

On top of that, China has reportedly detained nearly 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkish minorities in detention centers in Xinjiang. The government claims the prisons are vocational training institutes and denies widespread and recorded complaints that detained Uyghur Muslims have been mistreated and tortured.

Meanwhile, the protest came as other countries took action against Chinese authorities accusing them of crimes against some of mainly 12 million Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Public denunciations, economic sanctions, import bans on goods created using Uyghur forced labor and diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February are among the measures taken.

(Image: AP / ANI / Representative Image)