Uygur teacher gets life in prison
Updated: 2014-09-23 14:14
A screen grab from CCTV 13 shows lham Tohti at the court.
Uygur teacher Ilham Tohti is sentenced to life in prison for separatism in Urumqi, China, Xinhua News Agency announced on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging service in China.
Ilham Tohti, a Beijing-based economics professor from Minzu University, was handed the jail term by the Intermediate People’s Court of Urumuqi in Xinjiang this morning. The court also ordered that all his property be confiscated.
Tohti's family appointed two lawyers to defend him at the trial, which started on Sept 17 and was conducted in Mandarin instead of Uyghur at Tohti's request, according to the court. Tohti's wife was present at the trial, during which the court was heavily guarded and sealed off by police.
Tohti's case was turned over to the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court by prosecutors at the end of July after police in Urumqi said there was conclusive evidence linking Tohti to secessionist activities in January.
Tohti used a website he set up, "UighurOnline", to spread rumors and separatist thought, as well as to misrepresent events to instigate ethnic hatred and calls for "Xinjiang independence", the Urumqi Public Security Bureau said in a statement January.
He also told students that "Uygurs need to use violence to protest", according to the statement, adding that he called those who have carried out terrorist attacks "heroes" and instigated students to hate and even "overthrow" the government.
Police said Tohti used his status as a teacher to draw or lure people to form a group connected with key members of the overseas East Turkestan Islamic Movement that is listed as a terrorist group and sanctioned by the United Nations. Tohti's group also helped to organize and send people abroad to carry out separatist activities, police said.
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