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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> Focus on Xinjiang> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: August 10, 2009 NO. 32 AUGUST 10, 2009
Family Condemnations
Separatist leader Rebiya Kadeer's family members write to apologize to Urumqi riot victims and ask her to stop the violence


AN INDICTMENT: Family members of separatist leader Rebiya Kadeer wrote two letters on July 24. The top one is to Kadeer and the bottom one is to the victims of the July 5 riot (DING LIN) 

Officials released two letters on August 3 from family members of Rebiya Kadeer, who is believed the mastermind behind the July 5 Urumqi deadly riot, condemning her separatist activities and apologizing to victims of the violence.

The eldest son, daughter and brother of Kadeer, leader of the World Uygur Congress, wrote the letters on July 24.

"We were very angry and ashamed after the riot happened. Those who committed crimes should take responsibility. We were not involved in the riot. We are innocent and we are victims as well. As her family members, we are very angry about the riot that was organized by our mother (and sister) to separate the country," said the letter, which was originally written in Uygur language.

The authors of the letter also admitted that they received a phone call from Kadeer six hours before the riot took place warning them there would be a "big incident."

"She told me something big would happen in Urumqi," said Memet, Kadeer's brother who used to live and work with her, to Xinhua News Agency. "From what she said on the phone, she knew about this accident beforehand. If she helped incite the riot, she will be punished no matter where she is."

Rebiya's eldest son, Khahar, witnessed the riot on July 5. He told Xinhua, "I saw the whole thing from the balcony of my apartment on the 12th floor. Mobs came from the south. They smashed shops, burned police vehicles and buses and beat passers-by. I believe no one in Xinjiang expected such violence to occur."

"We were worrying that there might be a misunderstanding that we, as her children, were also involved," he said. "That's why we thought about writing a letter to families of the riot victims."

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