Uyghur exiles describe forced abortions, torture in Xinjiang

Istanbul: Three Uyghurs who fled from China to Turkey have described forced abortions and torture by Chinese authorities in China's far western Xinjiang region, ahead of giving testimony to a people's tribunal in London that is investigating if Beijing's actions against ethnic Uyghurs amount to genocide.

The three witnesses include a woman who said she was forced into an abortion at 6 1/2 months pregnant, a former doctor who spoke of draconian birth control policies, and a former detainee who alleged he was tortured day and night by Chinese soldiers while he was imprisoned in the remote border region.

They spoke to The Associated Press of their experiences before testifying by video link to the independent UK tribunal, which is expected to draw dozens of witnesses when it opens four days of hearings on Friday.

The tribunal, which does not have UK government backing, will be chaired by prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Nice, who led the prosecution of ex-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and worked with the International Criminal Court.

While the tribunal's judgment is not binding on any government, organisers hope the process of publicly laying out evidence will compel international action to tackle growing concerns about alleged abuses in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group.

One witness, mother-of-four Bumeryem Rozi, said authorities in Xinjiang rounded her up along with other pregnant women to abort her fifth child in 2007.

She said she complied because she feared that otherwise authorities would have confiscated her home and belongings and endangered her family.

I was 6 1/2 months pregnant ... The police came, one Uyghur and two Chinese. They put me and eight other pregnant women in cars and took us to the hospital, Rozi, 55, told the AP from her home in Istanbul.

They first gave me a pill and said to take it. So I did. I didn't know what it was, she continued. Half an hour later, they put a needle in my belly. And sometime after that I lost my child.

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