A prominent Uyghur scholar sentenced to life in prison by Chinese government

RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – A prominent Uyghur scholar specializing in the study of her people’s folklore and traditions has been sentenced to life in prison, according to a U.S.-based foundation that works on human rights cases in China.

Rahile Dawut was convicted on charges of endangering state security in December 2018 in a secret trial, the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation said in a statement Thursday.

Dawut appealed but her conviction was upheld, the foundation said.

“The sentencing of Professor Rahile Dawut to life in prison is a cruel tragedy, a great loss for the Uyghur people, and for all who treasure academic freedom,” John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, said in a statement.

Dawut was a professor at Xinjiang University and founder of the school’s Ethnic Minorities Folklore Research Center.

She disappeared in late 2017 amid a brutal government crackdown aimed at the Uyghurs, a Turkic, predominately Muslim ethnicity native to China’s northwest Xinjiang region.

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