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P R E S S  R E L E A S E

Fore Immmediate Release. 24 October 2019 (CET)
Subject: Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2019
Contact: Enver Can, +491738912048

The Ilham Tohti Initiative e.V. hails the Award as a very timly and excellent decision given the fact of unjust imprisonment of the Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti and in light of the ongoing cultural genocide in the Uyghur Region with a strong signal to Beijing.

It is wounderfull news! Thus it marks a milestone: it is the highest recognition of Prof. Ilham Tohti’s courgae, braveness and sacrifieces for the rights and freedom of his people, namely the Uyghur nation, by the free Democratic world to date!

It also marks a turning point in the stand of the EU towards the plight of the Uyghur peoples’ human rights situation, an ethnic group who have been heavily suppressed by the chinese Communist Regime and are subject to cultural genocide!More importantly, the Award will give a moral boost to the unjustly imprisoned Uyghur scholar to survive behind the bars and send a strong signal to Beijing that the Western Democracies vehemently oppose the human rights violations against the Uyghurs.

Ilham Tohti is the most renowned Uyghur public intellectual in the People’s Republic of China. For over two decades he has worked tirelessly to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and Chinese over the present-day repressive religious, cultural and political conditions of the Uyghurs, a Turkic people living mostly in modern China’s Uyghur Autonomous Region. As a result of his efforts he was sentenced in September, 2014, to life in prison following a two-day show trial. He remains a voice of moderation and reconciliation in spite of what has been done to him. In order to make the economic, social and developmental issues confronting the Uyghurs known to China’s wider population, Ilham established the Chinese-language website Uyghurbiz.net in 2006 to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and Chinese on the Uyghur Issue. Over the course of its existence it was shut down periodically and people writing for it were harassedIlham Tohti has adamantly rejected separatism and sought reconciliation by bringing to light Uyghur grievances, information the Chinese state has sought to keep behind a veil of silence. The Beijing regime, insteadf of making use of his ideas and proposals to solve the problem, has sentenced the Uyghur scholar for life in prison to silence him behind the bars. But, since his verdict the chinese plan has backfired and Prof. Ilham Tohti is better known in the world and his work has been increasingly appreciated by the Democratic world community.

Thus,  since Ilham Tohti  receive 6 international Human Rights Awards: hewas choosen the laureate of Barbara Goldsmith „Freedom To Write Prize in 2014; of the Martin Ennals Award in 2016; the „Freedom Award“ of the Liberal International and „The Human Rights Prize“ of the city of Weimar in 2017 and „The Freedom Prize“ of the Freedom House, the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize of 2019.

The Ilham Tohti Initiative e.V. wellcomes the decision by the EP as a further step reminding China to respect the basic rights of its citizens, including the Uyghurs and as a recognition of the plight of the Uyghur people. We also urge the Chinese regime to free immediately all detained or imprisoned Uyghur intellectuals, including Ilham Tohti and close the internment camps where over one million Uyghurs undergo ideological treatment.

Ilham Tohti Initiative e.V.

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