EU awards top human rights prize to Uyghur activist



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Thursday awarded its top human rights prize to economist Ilham Tohti for his work defending China's Uyghur minority, and urged Beijing to release him from jail.

A moderate though outspoken Uyghur critic of Beijing's policies in Xinjiang, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014. He was convicted of fanning ethnic hatred, advocating violence and instigating terror through his classroom teaching and a website on Uyghur issues.

European Parliament President David Sassoli, announcing the winner of the Sakharov Prize in Strasbourg, France, praised Tohti for dedicating his life to advocating the rights of China's Uyghur minority.

"By awarding this prize, we strongly urge the Chinese government to release Tohti and we call for the respect of minority rights in China," Sassoli said.

Tohti succeeded Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker who was recently released from a Russian prison camp after being accused of plotting acts of terrorism.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast