“Two days after the trial ended, everything suddenly changed.”
That’s what Qydyraly Oraz, one of the leaders of the volunteer group Atazhurt, told me the other day. For those not in the know, Atazhurt is an incredible group that spends its days collecting testimonies from relatives of those detained in XJ – sometimes meeting them in their office in Almaty, at other times driving out to the boondocks far away and meeting with them there. They also did a lot for Sairagul’s trial.
Part of that included hiring the services of journalist Saule Adibenova and working together with Sairagul’s lawyer, Abzal Kuspan. It all seemed like a really good partnership. Personally, I had good relations with both Saule and Abzal, until about a week ago, when – as quoted above – everything changed.
Two days after the trial ended, there was a press conference with Sairagul that was cancelled, and then Saule and Abzal were suddenly in charge of Sairagul and her family, announcing that she would not be talking to reporters at all, or seeing anyone, for that matter.
What happened in those two days? According to Atazhurt, Abzal and Saule both went to a party hosted by Jebeu (杰标) – a sort of China-Kazakhstan “bridge” organization that works closely with the Chinese consulate (see, e.g.: http://almaty.chineseconsulate.org/chn/zlsxx/zlshd/t1345545.htm). And then things changed.
Top photo: Saule (first row, second from left) and Abzal (middle) with Jebeu group. Posted by Jebeu member on his FB.
Middle photo: Jebeu photo at Chinese consulate in Almaty. In the very middle sits Zhang Wei, the Consul General (a.k.a., “there are no concentration camps in Xinjiang”). The balding Chinese guy in the back was one of the two diplomats present at the second session of Sairagul’s trial.
Bottom photo: Saule on an outing with Jebeu today (from her FB). She also used the same post to poke fun at Atazhurt a bit.
For the record, as far as I know, Jebeu did nothing for Sairagul during her trial, while Atazhurt campaigned relentlessly.
And yet it’s with Saule and Abzal that Sairagul is now – and no one in Atazhurt seems to know where exactly.
Origin from Facebook of Gene Bunin:
The original ebook link:https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2230802717151575&id=100006656040045