Hunger striking Uighur prisoner in China insists innocence

An economics professor at Beijing's Minzu University, Ilham Tohti, was taken to his native East Turkestan (Xinjiang) after being detained by the police in January.

Hunger striking Uighur prisoner in China insists innocence

World Bulletin / News Desk

Chinese authorities arrested a prominent Uyghur scholar for "separatist activities" has maintained his innocence from jail as his lawyer was allowed to meet him for the first time in months. 

An economics professor at Beijing's Minzu University, Ilham Tohti, was taken to his native East Turkestan (Xinjiang) after being detained by the police in January. 

Tohti's lawyer, Li Fangping, saw him on Thursday and learned that his client was put in shackles for three weeks upon arrival at the jail. 

"He went on a hunger strike for some 10 days in January after they refused to provide him with Muslim food," Li told CNN on Friday. "They also denied him food for about 10 days in March after the Kunming incident." 

"He looked okay but said he lost 16 kilograms and complained about ailments throughout the body, including in the liver, heart and eyes," Li added.

Li said Tohti emphasized that he has never supported separatism.

"He reiterated that he has advocated to improve the rule of law, democracy and ethnic harmony in Xinjiang," Li said.

Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch said, "Unfortunately, the government is more interested in projecting what it wishes to do in Xinjiang rather than looking at what the real problems and ethnic grievances are in the region."

Last Mod: 29 Haziran 2014, 11:56
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