Life sentence for outspoken Uighur academic in China

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Life sentence for outspoken Uighur academic in China

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A sentence of life in jail has been handed down to a university professor who campaigned for better rights for China’s Uighur minority.

Ilham Tohti has been convicted of separatism in a case condemned by the US, the European Union and human rights groups.

Experts say it is one of the toughest penalties in more than a decade for a case against an outspoken critic of the state.

Tohti earlier spoke about what it was like being placed under house arrest.

“I have been reflecting on my situation in the past three years,” he said in February 2013. “ In fact I am like a prisoner living in a cage. They don’t let me do anything. If I give interviews, they harass me or my family. They threaten me, I can’t teach anymore, they don’t let me make a living to support my family. Why?”

Tohti became well known as a moderate voice on the question of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, which has long complained of unfair treatment by authorities in China.