Being Uighur in China: 'They tortured me for hours'

  • Special video report by ITV News Correspondent Emma Murhpy

Warning this report contains descriptions of torture.

Turkey’s Uighur population in exile live far from home but distance does not dim their fear. Their lives are ones of suspicion and unease. They may be far from China but they fear Chinese reach.That fear may be well-placed based on an interview we conducted this week with a young Uighur man who says he was tortured in China and forced to spy on his own people.

Mehmet had been abroad to see his father and when returned to China he was detained for 16 months.

He said: "They asked me what task were you asked to do when you came back?""I said, 'I am just a chef, what other task is it possible for me to do?'"

Mehmet added: "They said 'you haven’t felt the severity of the pain enough yet'."They used a white water pipe and hit the soles of my feet and bottom over a hundred times.

"Next day I had bleeding when passing water."

He continued: "The torture was relentless.

"They beat me with the twisted wire and pipe nonstop. "There was no place left without bruising.

"They tortured me for three hours, I couldn’t cope any longer so I begged them to take me down from hanging.

"Then they placed me on a chair facing backwards and hit my bottom. After screaming and begging for so long I passed out."

ITV News has seen footage reported to be from inside the Uighur camps. Credit: ITV News

Mehmet said: "When I woke up I found myself lying on the floor, they asked me if I wanted water, I said yes.

"About one and half an hour later they started interrogating me again which lasted total of seven, eight hours. I was then taken back to my cell."

Mehmet eventually gave in and accepted to travel abroad.

He took money and a ticket and was told to go to Germany and report back from "getting up to going to bed."

When he couldn’t get a visa he went to Turkey. After months of monitoring what was happening around him he could live with it no more.

He cut all ties with those he was reporting to and explained his position to family.Now he lives with the guilt.

Mehmet said: "I have spoken to my people about my problem of what is going through my head, because I am doubtful and cynical of everyone, I know I suffer from this abnormality because of what happened to me.

"I often wonder what happened to those four to five million people, even if they were released outside they might become fearful of rats."