A Uighur man has secretly recorded the life inside one of China’s secretive, high-security internment camps, where he said he heard the constant sound of prisoners scream.
According to reports by the BBC, Merdan Ghappar, a successful model on the e-commerce platform Taobao, was detained after having spent over a year in prison on a drug charge his supporters said was trumped up.
China Uighurs: A model’s video gives a rare glimpse inside internment https://t.co/jvGyuO2xV6
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 4, 2020
Videos and text messages reportedly sent by Ghappar portrays a detailed account of his detention and the shocking conditions he says he witnessed, including teenage boys being tortured and beaten, and of the widespread use of “four-piece suits” – combined restraints that are criticised by human rights groups.
In his texts, Ghappar described being made to wear the “four-piece suit”, being threatened, and held in unsanitary, and dangerous conditions, with prisoners besieged by lice and sharing unwashed eating utensils to consume “the leftovers after the cops had eaten, made into rice soup”.
“One time I heard a man screaming from morning until evening. This was psychological torture to me – I was afraid, would the next one be me?”, Ghappar texted.
A video, which Ghappar sent to family in Europe, shows his hand handcuffed to a thin bed in a small and empty room.
As per the BBC, his messages continued for a few days before ceasing about five months ago, and that authorities had provided no formal information about his location or the reason for his detention.
His uncle, Abdulhakim Ghappar, told the BBC he believed Ghappar was detained because he had family outside China who are politically active. “He was detained just because I am abroad and I take part in protests against Chinese human rights abuses,” he said.
Ghappar was released from the Foshan prison in November 2019, and one month later, he was asked to complete a routine registration procedure. In January 2020, he was put on a flight back to his home city in Xinjiang, as reported by the BBC.
However, instead of reaching home, Ghappar vanished.