Waleed lost for words over dad's plight


THE Project's panel has been left lost for words after interviewing a man just hours after he discovered his wife had been arrested overseas.

Sadam Abudusalamu featured in Monday night's episode of Four Corners, which documented the plight of Uyghurs, a minority ethnic group of Turkic-speaking Muslims who have been persecuted by the Chinese government.

Mr Abudusalamu has not seen his wife Nadila in two years as she has been unable to leave Xinjiang province, where the largest group of Uyghurs live. As a result, he has never met his two-year-old son Lutfy.

After speaking out on Four Corners Mr Abudusalamu's wife was arrested, with the devastated young father appearing on The Project to plead for help in getting her freed.

"To be honest I don't know what to say now - I told ABC this is going to happen, and it's exactly happening because I am speaking out," Mr Abudusalamu said on Tuesday evening.

"[At] 3.30 (pm) Sydney time they just took my wife, and (my) two-year-old baby, I don't know where he is now … she just sent me a message (saying) police just called me, if I can't come out, please take care of yourself."

Sadam Abudusalamu (right) appeared on The Project with Almas Nizamidin (left), whose wife is also being imprisoned.
Sadam Abudusalamu (right) appeared on The Project with Almas Nizamidin (left), whose wife is also being imprisoned.

With Mr Abudusalamu's situation clearly dire and his distress apparent, Waleed Aly asked whether he was comfortable speaking out.

"Sadam, do you feel like you shouldn't be talking to us?" Aly said.

"No, I have to speak out, I've got nothing to lose anymore. Even if I don't speak out nothing is going to change, so I have to speak out," Mr Abudusalamu said.

"I just can't imagine how hard it is, not having ever seen your son let alone now not even knowing where he is," Carrie Bickmore added.



Mr Abudusalamu accused the Australian government of not helping because of trade interests with China and said he felt like "being a Muslim is a crime at the moment"

"I'm living in Australia but feel like I'm under Chinese government pressure," he said.

Ending the interview, Aly acknowledged he didn't quite know what to say to Mr Abudusalamu about his struggled.

"Sadam Abdusalamu, I don't know ordinarily I try to find something I could say to console you. I have nothing," Aly said.

Waleed Aly acknowledged there was nothing he could do to ease the man's pain.
Waleed Aly acknowledged there was nothing he could do to ease the man's pain.

"There's nothing I can say at this point except that we're watching, we will watch with interest, I hope that it turns out in a way that's far from the worst of the possibilities.

"I commend you on your bravery for speaking up and thank you very much for speaking to us tonight."

In a statement to The Project, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said DFAT "continues to provide consular assistance" to Mr Abudusalamu.

"It is important to not that China does not provide consular access to dual nationals," the statement read.

Four Corners' Sophie McNeil has since tweeted that Nadila been released after questioning and told to tell Mr Abudusalamu to "stop speaking out".



Australia is one of 22 countries that has signed a letter to the UN Human Rights Council criticising Beijing's treatment of Uyghurs in the northwest region.

The letter asks China to "end its mass arbitrary detentions and related violations against Muslims in the Xinjiang region".

But China has hit back at the letter, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accusing signatory nations of having "wantonly criticised and smeared China in total disregard for the truth".

According to Amnesty International, up to one million Uyghurs have been detained in "re-education" camps.

Senator Payne told ABC radio on Monday she was "deeply concerned" about human rights and use of detention in Xinjiang.

"Those concerns have been raised with China regularly, including directly be me, in my visit last year," she said.

"We are concerned about the forced detention … of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, and we are very concerned about the underlying tensions that exist there."