Family Visit to Jailed Uyghur Scholar Put Off Until March

uyghur-ilham-tohti-2010.jpg Ilham Tohti chats with students on June 12, 2010 after a lecture at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing.

The wife of jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti said a planned prison visit by his brother last week did not take place, but that she had expected to visit her husband in March.

“I called his brother and he said that he didn’t go. That’s it. Maybe he is too busy with his work because he lives in Atush,” Guzelnur told RFA’s Mandarin Service, referring to her brother-in-law’s stated plan to visit Tohti on Feb. 18.

“I originally planned to visit him but I couldn’t make it because of the winter break. I plan to visit him in March,” she said.

The former professor at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing was sentenced to life in prison following his conviction on a charge of “separatism” by the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court in Xinjiang on Sept. 23, 2014.

She said that Tohti is locked in a cell alone own in Urumqi's No. 1 Prison, but he doesn’t have to work.

“He also receives a physical exam every other week. He can read books that cannot have any notes on them,” said Guzelnur.

Such family visits are limited to one half-hour meeting every three months.

“A lot of paper works needs to be done for the 30-minute visit. They need residential certificate and marriage certificate. My residential ID was issued in Xinjiang,” she added.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated RFA's Mandarin Service. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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