Entry of 5393       

Ilham Tohti (伊力哈木·土赫提)

Chinese ID: 65300119691025??O? (Atush)

Age: 35-55    Detention reason: "separatism"    Detention type: formal prison
Gender: M    Detention time: before 2017    Health status: unclear
Ethnicity: Uyghur    Profession: scholar    Location: Urumqi

List(s): Testimonies mentioning specific prisons, Covered in international media, Before Chen Quanguo

Testifying party

Justine, French citizen

Victim's relation to testifier

No relation, information is publicly available in the press.

About the victim

Ilham Tohti (born in 1969) is a prominent Uyghur economist, writer, and professor at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing. He has long been a well-known advocate for the respect of Uyghurs' rights and rule of law in Xinjiang, and is considered as a moderate voice promoting dialogue between Han and Uyghur. In 2006, he created his website Uyghur Online (Uyghur Biz) which tackled social issues in Uyghur and Chinese and was designed to promote understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese: the creation of the website seems to have marked the start of authorities' harrasment towards Ilham Tohti, and the website was later shut down by the authorities.
He was first arrested for more than a month in july 2009 following the Urumqi ethnic unrests but eventually released. In january 2014 he was detained again at his home in Beijing and then taken to Xinjiang, where western diplomats were barred from attending his two-day trial in september that year, which led to his sentencing to life in prison.
Since then, he has won the 2014 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award and was awarded the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights in 2016 a well as the Liberal International’s Prize for Freedom in The Hague in 2017.
Since he was incarcerated, Ilham Tohti has been subjected to recurring violations of international human rights standards with regard to detention conditions such as limitations of family visits, intercepted communication, solitary confinement, deprivation of food and intimidation. Ilham Tohti’s family and colleagues have also been subjected to judicial harassment.

Victim's location

No.1 Prison in Urumqi

When victim was detained

Detained on 25 January 2014 and sentenced to life in prison by a Chinese court on september 23/24 2014.

Probable (or official) reason for detention

Promoting separatism

Victim's status

Condemned to life in prison

How did the testifier learn about the victim's status?

Multiple sources such as (but not limited to) :
- https://www.smh.com.au/world/uighur-scholar-ilham-tohti-sentenced-to-life-in-jail-by-chinese-court-20140923-10kxgp.html
- https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/world/asia/15china.html?scp=1&sq=Ilham%20Tohti,&st=cse
- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/11/ilham-tohti-uighur-china-wins-nobel-martin-ennals-human-rights-award
- https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/scholar-09232014091017.html?searchterm:utf8:ustring=+Ilham+Tohti
- https://www.rfa.org/english/video?v=1_s48jijtq
- https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/awarded-11302017165248.html?searchterm:utf8:ustring=+Ilham+Tohti
- https://www.rfa.org/english/women/china-tohti-10172016170821.html?searchterm:utf8:ustring=+Ilham+Tohti
- https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/ilham-tohti-sentenced-life-imprisonment
- https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/hu-tohti-07272018160529.html
[additional: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1541335/detained-uygur-economist-ilham-tohti-denied-food-10-days-custody-lawyer]

Additional information

[Mentioned in the CECC report: https://www.cecc.gov/sites/chinacommission.house.gov/files/documents/CECC%20Pris%20List_20181011_1424.pdf]

Supplementary materials

teaching photo
after class

Entry created: 2018-11-29

Last updated: 2019-05-29

Latest update from testifier: 2018-11-29