Writers in prison - Tohti Tunyaz (Muzart)

The Uighur writer and historian Tohti Tunyaz (pen-name Muzart - the name of the largest river in the part of Xinjiang Province, north-west China, where he was born) was arrested in 1999 while on a research trip to the Uighur Autonomous Region from Japan, where he was living with his wife and children and studying for a PhD in Uighur history and ethnic relations. He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for supposedly "illegally acquiring state secrets", "inciting national disunity" and the authorship of a seditious book - although there is no evidence that such a book was ever written or published by him. In spite of a vigorous campaign by Professor Tsugitaka Sato of Tokyo University, his subsequent adoption by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and honorary membership of English, Canadian and Japanese PEN (among others), Tunyaz remains incarcerated in Urumqi jail.

Appeals can be sent to:

His Excellency Zhang Fusen
Minister of Justice
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyang-qu
Beijing-shi 100020
People's Republic of China

Or fax appeals c/o His Excellency
UK Ambassador Zha Peixin Fax: 020 7637 0399

Ruth Fainlight is a poet