Unrest in the Uighur region of China in July 2009.

Uighur Man Jailed for Spying for China

A 62-year-old Uighur living in Sweden has been convicted of spying on fellow refugees for the Chinese state. The Stockholm District Court sentenced him to one year and four months in jail for “aggravated illegal espionage activity.”

According to a court statement, the man from the Turkic-speaking region in northwest China had passed on personal information about other exiled Uighurs in Sweden to a diplomat and a journalist, both working for the Chinese intelligence service.

Beijing reportedly received details about the Uighurs’ health, travel, asylum applications, and political involvement, which the court said “could cause significant damage to Uighurs in and outside China.”

According to news agency TT, he had collected the information from January 2008 through June 2009, adding details about other Uighurs living in Norway, Germany, and the United States. He even infiltrated the World Uighur Congress, the exiled Uighurs’ elite international political group.

The Stockholm district court, which based its verdict on evidence gleamed from wiretapping and witness accounts, called the crime “especially egregious due to the fact that the espionage served a large power that does not fully respect human rights.”

The man claimed that he had been negotiating with the World Congress on behalf of the Chinese state, but the court summarily dismissed that account.

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