Europe

Imprisoned Chinese minority scholar given human rights award

  • FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China's Uighur minority, gestures as he speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China. A group of leading rights organizations has awarded its annual prize for human rights defenders to imprisoned Chinese Muslim minority economics professor Tohti, shining new attention on a case that has brought strong international condemnation. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China's Uighur minority, gestures as he speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China. A group of leading rights organizations has awarded its annual prize for human rights defenders to imprisoned Chinese Muslim minority economics professor Tohti, shining new attention on a case that has brought strong international condemnation. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China's Uighur minority, gestures as he speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China. A group of leading rights organizations has awarded its annual prize for human rights defenders to imprisoned Chinese Muslim minority economics professor Tohti, shining new attention on a case that has brought strong international condemnation. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China's Uighur minority, gestures as he speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China. A group of leading rights organizations has awarded its annual prize for human rights defenders to imprisoned Chinese Muslim minority economics professor Tohti, shining new attention on a case that has brought strong international condemnation. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

A group of leading rights organizations has awarded its annual prize for human rights defenders to imprisoned Chinese Muslim minority economics professor Ilham Tohti.

The Martin Ennals Award is bestowed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and eight other human rights groups. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday evening.

Tohti was given a life sentence on charges of separatism in September 2014 after a two-day trial. A member of the Turkic Muslim Uighur ethnic group, he taught at Beijing's Minzu University and was an outspoken critic of Beijing's ethnic policies in the far western region of Xinjiang.

Tohti denied advocating separatism or violence.

Seven of his students were also sentenced in what was seen as a move to strengthen the government's case against him.