By Worthy News Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News)-- China has sentenced an Uyghur house church leader to 15 years "criminal detention" on charges of "providing state secrets to overseas organizations", but his supporters linked the sentence to his Christian activities.
China Aid Association (CAA), an advocacy group with close ties to house churches, said Monday, December 7, that 36-year-old Alimujiang Yimiti received the sentence October 28, but added that his lawyers have filed an appeal against the verdict.
Alimujiang was held at Kashgar Detention Center for over two years without a verdict, several Christians confirmed.
He was first formally detained and charged on "suspicions of harming national security" by the Bureau of State Security of Kashgar, a city in the western part of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, apparently because of running a house church.
The charges were then changed to "suspicion of instigating separatism and providing national secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations or individuals," earlier this year, trial observers said.
Information has been difficult to confirm. He was tried secretly including in the Kashgar Intermediate Court on May 27, Christians said.
China has denied human rights violations saying Christians are free to worship within the Communist-government backed churches. Many of the roughly 130 million Christians prefer to worship in 'house churches', named this way as they are often organized in homes and other buildings of individual believers.