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Women in China's "re-education" camps for Uighurs have been systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured, according to detailed new s obtained by the BBC. You may find some of the details in this story distressing.

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The men always wore masks, Tursunay Ziawudun said, even though there was no pandemic then. Sometime after midnight, they came to the cells to select the women they wanted and took them down the corridor to a "black room", where there were no surveillance cameras. Tursunay Ziawudun spent nine months inside China's vast and secretive system of internment camps in the Xinjiang region.

According to independent estimates, more than a million men and women have vergewaltigt story detained in the sprawling network of camps, which China says exist for the "re-education" of the Uighurs and other minorities. Human rights groups say the Chinese government has gradually stripped away the religious and other freedoms of the Uighurs, culminating in an oppressive system of mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination, and even forced sterilisation. The policy flows from China's President, Xi Jinping, who visited Xinjiang in in the wake of a terror attack by Uighur separatists.

Shortly after, according to documents leaked to the New York Times, he directed local officials to respond with "absolutely no mercy".

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The US government said last month that China's actions since amounted to a genocide. China says reports of mass detention and forced sterilisation are "lies and absurd allegations". First-hand s from inside the internment camps are rare, but several former detainees and a guard have told the BBC they experienced or saw evidence of an organised system of mass rape, sexual abuse and torture. Tursunay Ziawudun, who fled Xinjiang after her release and is now in the US, said women were removed from the cells "every night" and raped by one or more masked Chinese men.

She said she was tortured and later gang-raped on three occasions, each time by two or three men. Ziawudun has spoken to the media before, but only from Kazakhstan, where she "lived in constant fear of being sent back to China", she said.

She said she believed that if she revealed the extent of the sexual abuse she had experienced and seen, and was vergewaltigt story to Xinjiang, she would be punished more harshly than before. And she was ashamed, she said. It is impossible to verify Ziawudun's completely because of the severe restrictions China places on reporters in the country, but travel documents and immigration records she provided to the BBC corroborate the timeline of her story. Her descriptions of the camp in Xinyuan county - known in Uighur as Kunes county - match satellite imagery analysed by the BBC, and her descriptions of daily life inside the camp, as well as the nature and methods of the abuse, correspond with other s from former detainees.

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Internal documents from the Kunes county justice system from andprovided to the BBC by Adrian Zenz, a leading expert on China's policies in Xinjiang, detail planning and spending for "transformation through education" vergewaltigt story "key groups" - a common euphemism in China for the indoctrination of the Uighurs. In one Kunes document, the "education" process is described as "washing brains, cleansing hearts, strengthening righteousness and eliminating evil". The BBC also interviewed a Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who was detained for 18 months in the camp system, who said she was forced to strip Uighur women naked and handcuff them, before leaving them alone with Chinese men.

Afterwards, she cleaned the rooms, she said.

I sat silently next to the door, and when the man left the room I took the woman for a shower. The Chinese men "would pay money to have their pick of the prettiest young inmates", she said. Some former detainees of the camps have described being forced to assist guards or face punishment. Auelkhan said she was powerless to resist or intervene. Asked if there was a system of organised rape, she said: "Yes, rape.

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Some of the women who were taken away from the cells at night were never returned, Ziawudun said. Those who were brought back were threatened against telling others in the cell what had happened to them. Mr Zenz told the BBC that the testimony gathered for this story was "some of the most horrendous evidence I have seen since the atrocity began".

The Uighurs are a mostly Muslim Turkic minority group that about 11 million in Xinjiang in north-western China. The region borders Kazakhstan and is also home to ethnic Kazakhs. Ziawudun, who is 42, is Uighur. Her husband is a Kazakh. The couple returned to Xinjiang in late after a five-year stay in Kazakhstan, and were interrogated on arrival and had their passports confiscated, Ziawudun said.

A few months later, she was told by police to attend a meeting alongside other Uighurs and Kazakhs and the group was rounded up and detained. Her first stint in detention was comparatively easy, she said, with decent food and access to her phone.

After a month she developed stomach ulcers and was released. Her husband's passport was returned and he went back to Kazakhstan to work, but authorities kept Ziawudun's, trapping her in Xinjiang. Reports suggest China has purposefully kept behind and interned relatives to discourage those who leave from speaking out. On 9 Marchwith her husband still in Kazakhstan, Ziawudun was instructed to report to a local police station, she said. She was told she needed "more education". According to herZiawudun was transported back to the same facility as her detention, in Kunes county, but the site had been ificantly developed, she said.

Buses were lined up outside offloading new detainees "non-stop". The women had their jewellery confiscated. Ziawudun's earrings were yanked out, she said, causing her ears to bleed, and she was herded into a room with a group of women. Among them was an elderly woman who Ziawudun would later befriend.

The camp guards pulled off the woman's hecarf, Ziawudun said, and shouted at her for wearing a long dress - one of a list of religious expressions that became vergewaltigt story offences for Uighurs that year.

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She was so embarrassed that she tried to cover herself with her arms," Ziawudun said. Her tears fell like rain.

The women were told to hand over their shoes and any clothes with elastic or buttons, Ziawudun said, then taken to cellblocks - "similar to a small Chinese neighbourhood where there are rows of buildings". Nothing much happened for the first month or two. They were forced to watch propaganda programmes in their cells and had their hair vergewaltigt story cut short. Then police began interrogating Ziawudun about her absent husband, she said, knocking her on the floor when she resisted and kicking her in the abdomen.

I almost passed out - I felt a hot flush go through me. A camp doctor told her she might have a blood clot. When her cellmates drew attention to the fact that she was bleeding, the guards "replied saying it is normal for women to bleed", she said. According to Ziawudun, each cell was home to 14 women, with bunk beds, bars on the windows, a basin and a hole-in-the-floor-style toilet. When she first saw women being taken out of the cell at night, she didn't understand why, she said.

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She thought they were being moved elsewhere. Then sometime in May - "I don't remember the exact date, because you don't remember the dates inside there" - Ziawudun and a cellmate, a woman in her twenties, were taken out at night and presented to a Chinese man in a mask, she said.

Her cellmate was taken into a separate room.

I never thought about them raping. The woman who had brought them from the cells told the men about Ziawudun's recent bleeding. The man with the mask said 'Take her to the dark room'.

They had an electric stick, I didn't know what it was, and it was pushed inside my vergewaltigt story tract, torturing me with an electric shock. Ziawudun's torture that first night in the dark room eventually came to an end, she said, when the woman intervened again citing her medical condition, and she was returned to the cell.

Alongside cells, another central feature of the camps is classrooms. Teachers have been drafted in to "re-educate" the detainees - a process activists say is deed to strip the Uighurs and other minorities of their culture, language and religion, and indoctrinate them into mainstream Chinese culture. Qelbinur Sedik, an Uzbek woman from Xinjiang, was among the Chinese language teachers brought into the camps and coerced into giving lessons to the detainees.

Sedik has since fled China and spoken publicly about her experience. The women's camp was "tightly controlled", Sedik told the BBC. But she heard stories, she said - s and rumours of rape.

'their goal is to destroy everyone': uighur camp detainees allege systematic rape

One day, Sedik cautiously approached a Chinese camp policewoman she knew. She said, 'Yes, the rape has become a culture. It is gang rape and the Chinese police not only rape them but also electrocute them. They are subject to horrific torture.

That night Sedik didn't sleep at all, she said.

In separate testimony to the Uyghur Human Rights Project, Sedik said she heard about an electrified stick being inserted into women to torture them - echoing the experience Ziawudun described. There were "four kinds of electric shock", Sedik said - "the chair, the glove, the helmet, and anal rape with a stick". Another teacher forced to work in the camps, Sayragul Sauytbay, told the BBC that "rape was common" and the guards "picked the vergewaltigt story and young women they wanted and took them away".

She described witnessing a harrowing public gang rape of a woman of just 20 or 21, who was brought before about other detainees to make a forced confession. I was dead. In the camp in Kunes, Ziawudun's days drifted into weeks and then months.