GULMIRE IMIN (Freelance, China) was one of several administrators of Uyghur-language Web forums arrested after the July 2009 riots in Urumqi — riots which began as protest over the death of Uyghur migrant workers in Guangdong province.
Imin held a local government post in Urumqi. She contributed poetry and short stories to the cultural website Salkin, and was invited to moderate the site in spring 2oo9.
Authorities accused Imin of being an organiser of the demonstrations on 5th July 2009, and of using the Uyghur-language website to distribute information about the event. Imin had been critical of the government in her online writing. The website was shut down after the riots: its contents were deleted.
In August 2o1o, Imin was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of separatism and organising an illegal demonstration. Imin was also accused of leaking state secrets by phone to her husband who lives in Norway. Her husband told the Commitee to Protect Journalists that he called her on 5th July 2009, but just to check whether she was safe.
Uyghurs make up less than 1% of China’s overall population; CPJ found that 17 of 44 jailed journalists in China were Uyghur — nearly 40%.
Imin was being held in the Xinjiang women’s prison in Urumqi. CPJ could not determine the status of her health in late 2016.
AHMED ABBA (Radio France Internationale, Cameroon) was a correspondent for RFI’s Hausa service, was arrested as he left a press briefing at the office of a local governor in Maroua, capital of Cameroon’s Far North region, on 30th July 2o15. He was taken to Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, and denied access to his lawyer until 19th October. Officials did not take a statement from Abba until 13th November — more than three months after his arrest, which is against the law.
The journalist’s lawyer, Charles Tchoungang, said Abba was interrogated in relation to the activities of extremist sect Boko Haram — infamous for the kidnapping of over 200 girls in northern Nigeria — which has been increasing its presence in northern Cameroon since 2o14.
A military tribunal charged Abba with complicity in acts of terrorism and failure to denounce acts of terrorism under Cameroon’s 2014 Anti-Terrorism Law. According to prosecutors, Abba failed to inform authorities he had been in contact with Boko Haram members. The maximum sentence for the charges is the death penalty.
Abba pleaded not guilty at a hearing in August 2016. RFI reported that Abba mostly covered refugee issues in the region but had also covered attacks executed by Boko Haram. RFI issued a statement in June 2016 saying Abba’s reporting had been professional and calling for his immediate release.
ZEHRA DOGAN (Jin News Agency, JINHA, Turkey). On 22nd July 2016, police detained Zehra Dogan — a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Jin News Agency (JINHA), which is staffed entirely by women — in Nusaybin, in Turkey’s south eastern Mardin Province. The following day, the Nusaybin Court of Penal Peace ordered the journalist to be jailed pending trial on charges of ‘being a member of a terrorist organisation’. Mardin’s Second Court for Serious Crimes also indicted Dogan on the charge of ‘making propaganda for a [terrorist] organisation’.
At the time of Dogan’s arrest, Nusaybin was the site of urban warfare between Turkish security forces and ethnic- Kurdish fighters. The state’s evidence in their indictment consists of testimonies from people saying that they saw Dogan talking with people in the street. Witnesses said that they could not hear the conversations but insisted that they were ‘organisation meetings’. Witnesses also said they saw Dogan ask locals to pose with tools as though helping fighters dig trenches and construct barricades — showing the local population’s support for the fight.
Dogan denied being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), maintained that the conversations in question were part of her reporting, and denied the photographs being posed, the records show.
As of late 2o16, Dogan was jailed in Mardin Prison, pending trial.