DHARAMSALA, Jan 16: Rights groups and scholars have called on China for the immediate release of imprisoned Uighur economics professor Ilham Tohti who is serving a life sentence in China for advocating ‘separatism’.
“On the five year anniversary of the arrest of Uyghur professor Ilham Tohti, civil
society is calling for China to grant his immediate release,” a total of 20 rights group and 100 scholars from around the world have said in their statement calling for Ilham Tohti’s release.
The group further urged China to heed calls for the release of an untold number of Uyghur scholars currently being detained by the communist regime in political indoctrination facilities.
Tohti, a member of the Turkic Muslim Uighur ethnic group, was given a life sentence following a hushed-up two-day trial on charges of separatism in September 2014.
He has been serving his life sentence since December 2014 at Urumqi’s No. 1
The professor took to the internet and ran a site, Uyghurbiz.net to promote discussion about the economic, social and developmental issues faced by Uighurs.
The communist regime, in a bid to strengthen their case against Tohti, also arrested seven of his students. They were accused of forming a group to split Xinjiang from China and their whereabouts and conditions remain unknown.
He was adjudged the winner of 2016 Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders by a group of leading human rights organizations.