Home > Media and News > Press Release > PRESS RELEASE – 8 th Anniversary of Prof. Ilham Tohti’s Imprisonment

Fore Immediate Release: 06:30 (CET)
Subject: 8 th Anniversary of Prof. Ilham Tohti’s Imprisonment
Contact: Enver Can, Phone: +49-1738912048; E-mail: enver.can@web.de

We are commemorating the 8 th Anniversary of Ilham Tohti’s unjust trial and
subsequent life-time sentence with growing concern and dismay amid no news
about his whereabouts, both mental and physical health and without family
visitation at least for the last six years.
The Uyghur scholar who has adamantly sought reconciliation and asked for the
implementation of the constitutionally guaranteed Autonomy rights for his people was
sentenced for life in prison on 23 rd of September 2014 after a two-day show-trial. His
parting words before arrest were that the two peoples must learn to respect each other,
co-exist in peace, and not hate each other. Despite all this, Ilham Tohti was accused of
so called “separatism”.
We commemorate this tragic moment in the life of a man who was a peace loving
moderate obsessed with the fear that relations between the Han authorities and the
Uyghur population would deteriorate dramatically which the case now: Actually, the
CCP have been implementing a policy of Genocide against the Uyghur and other
Turkic peoples. In fact, it is difficult to say anything about the fate of Ilham Tohti,
who was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize and numerous other
international human rights awards, thanks to the repeated efforts of many friends,
former students, relatives, and democracy activists.
The Chinese government lacks the imagination to come up with credible charges
when it wants to get rid of personalities who seem to be potential leaders and even
have a strong charisma, like Ilham Tohti who has sacrificed everything, including his
life, family and property for the rights and freedom of his people. Many years have

gone by and the situation in the Uyghur Region (XUAR) has gone from bad to worse:
millions of people have been sent to so called “Education camps” where they have
been brain washed, forced to deny their own identity, separated from their families,
tortured, raped, or even beaten to death.
It looks as if the Chinese government, getting ready in 2014 to launch a big campaign
to destroy the Uyghur people, its way of life, its language and its aspirations, had first
targeted the visionary Ilham Tohti, the very person who was trying to prevent the
tragedy we have only been able to witness, helpless, from afar much later.
It is not difficult to imagine that Ilham Tohti knew what was coming up and the real
purpose of the CCP. Enver Can, the founding President of the Ilham Tohti Initiative,
predicting that the Chinese authorities feared about his influence both in Beijing and
abroad, says “exactly that is the reason why they tried to silence the Uyghur scholar
behind the bars”. But, according to Mr. Can, the Chinese government has
miscalculated, and their plan didn’t work: thus, today Ilham Tohti and the plight of
the Uyghur people is much better known by the world community whereas Beijing
have been trying to hide the problem from the world.
On this occasion, once again we call the world community, especially the European
Union not to forget Ilham Tohti. He did get his few minutes of fame in December
2019 when the public applauded the Sakharov Prize committee for awarding this
great honor to Ilham Tohti. Members of the European delegation in Chinese capital
must repeatedly try to visit Ilham Tohti in prison and take care of his family in
We also urge the Chinese government must give us answers to all the questions
concerning whereabouts of Ilham Tohti: is he alive? Where has he been thrown in
jail? What is his health situation? and release the Uyghur scholar immediately and

Address: Ilham Tohti Initiative (ITI) e.V., Eichenstrasse 19, 85235 Odelzhausen – GERMANY

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