“Like we were enemies in a war”

China’s Mass Internment, Torture and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang

“Like we were enemies in a war” China’s Mass Internment, Torture and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang

Illustrations by Molly Crabapple

Imamhesen Memetrusul

依马木艾山 · 买买提肉苏力

Assumed Location

“Orphan camp”

Suspected Reasons for Arrest or Detention

Family member abroad

Official Reason for Arrest or Detention


Last Contact

September 2016

Imamhesen was only 11 years old when he spoke for the last time with his father in August 2016. His father, living in Kyrgyzstan, remembers the words from that last call he received from Imamhesen and his twin brother, Imamhusen Memetrasul: “They called me saying, ‘Dad, you should come, otherwise they will detain us’.” Imamhesen’s father moved abroad for work and believes that the police were threatening the family because he left Xinjiang. When interviewed, he told Amnesty International: “I think, yes, they disappeared because I didn’t return [to Xinjiang]; even if I would go back, they would still detain my family and myself.” After that call, the father lost contact with his family. The last update he received was in 2017. Since then, he has tried in many ways to gather information from the Chinese authorities about his family’s whereabouts, with no success. He added, “I have no idea where they may be.”

Personal Details

His father describes Imamhesen and his twin brother, Imamhusen, as very smart and good at school, mature despite their young age and interested in sport. He also remembers how close they were to him when he was still living in Xinjiang. He said: “They used to be my boys, we were really close to each other. We used to go to the restaurants … They had a lot of appetite! They put their hands straight into the pot, they had crazy appetite.” He ended the interview saying: “I just want … to see them again.” Unfortunately, Imamhesen and Imamhusen’s mother, Nurmangul Ebey, was reportedly detained in September 2016.

Date of Birth

12 October 2005




Kargilik, Kashgar province



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