A prominent scholar who championed China's Uighur minority plans to appeal his conviction and life sentence, citing what he calls his improper detention and the authorities' refusal to give his lawyers copies of evidence.

Scholar Ilham Tohti has denied prosecutors' charges that he encouraged separatism while speaking and writing about the discontent in his native region of Xinjiang. A court in the regional capital of Urumqi sentenced him to life in prison Tuesday and ordered the confiscation of his possessions.

Lawyer Li Fangping represents Ilham Tohti and said his legal team had not decided yet when to submit the appeal.

Li showed The Associated Press the first page of the 15-page document Wednesday. It says police did not tell Ilham Tohti why he was being detained, among other legal issues.