BOSTON, United States – Maria Mohammad, a 49-year-old Uighur mother of three, has not seen her husband in more than three years.

She fled her hometown of Atush in China’s northwest Xinjiang province in 2015 after the government began a brutal crackdown on the province’s Uighur population, a community of ethnically Chinese Muslims.

Mohammad’s husband, Sadir Ali, a 47-year-old businessman, had to be left behind because the Chinese authorities confiscated his passport, she said. Though she has been separated from Ali ever since, she said she found some solace knowing her husband was still safe.

But earlier this year, that changed.

“My husband has been missing since June,” she told MEE at a small restaurant in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. “I do not know what has happened to him.”

Mohammad left for Boston to join her two children in 2015 after it became apparent that a crackdown on Uighurs was imminent.

She now said she fears Ali may be one of more than one million Uighur Muslims held in internment camps in Xinjiang, an area that many Uighurs call occupied East Turkistan.