Ilham Tohti

Question: Ilham Tohti who is a Uyghur economist serving a life sentence in China, on separatism-related charges, has recently won which of the following award?
(a) Nobel Prize (in Economics)
(b) Sakharov Prize for Human Rights
(c) Tang Prize
(d) The International Booker Prize
Answer: (b)
Related facts:

  • The European Union (EU) Parliament awarded the ‘Sakharov Prize for Human Rights’ to Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti (49).
  • Tohti has been jailed and sentenced to life imprisonment in China for separatism.
  • The award was announced by European Parliament head David Sassoli, who also urged China to immediately release Ilham Tohti as well as called for the respect of minority rights in China.

Sakharov Prize:

  • It was constituted in memory of Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov and is awarded by the European Union (EU) Parliament annually for free speech.
  • The prize was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament.

Ilham Tohti:

  • Ilham Tohti born October 25, 1969 is a Uyghur economist serving a life sentence in China, on separatism-related charges.
  • He was a former Professor of economics at a Beijing university. In 2014, he was sentenced to life in prison following a show trial.
  • He has worked for more than 20 years on the situation of Uighur minority and on fostering inter-ethnic dialogue and understanding in China.
  • In September 2019 he also won another of Europe’s top human rights awards called Vaclav Havel prize.
  • He was also nominated by US lawmakers for Nobel Peace Prize, amid growing scrutiny of China’s treatment of Uighurs.

Some other past Winners of Sakharov Prize:

  • Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas (2010).
  • Pakistani schoolgirl and girl education campaigner Malala Yousafzai (2013)
  • Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar who escaped Islamic State (2016).


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