According to reports, Chinese authorities have imprisoned for life a prominent Uyghur academic who vanished six years ago on charges of endangering national security.
As reported by the Dui Hua Foundation human rights organization, Rahile Dawut, 57, an expert in Uyghur folklore and customs, lost her appeal over her prison term after being convicted in 2018 on allegations of encouraging “splittism.”
The organization had spent a considerable amount of time looking for Dawut. It issued a statement saying it had learned of the situation through a Chinese official and requested details from the government on Dawut’s whereabouts, health, and ability to communicate with her loved ones.
Executive Director of Dui Hua, John Kamm, told the government that the sentence of Professor Rahile Dawut to life in jail is a horrible tragedy, a significant blow to the Uyghur people and academic freedom. He demanded that she be released immediately and sent home to her loved ones.
The number of Uyghurs held in re-education camps is reported to be 1.5 million.
Dawut was a professor at Xinjiang University’s College of Humanities until she was detained in December 2017. In 2007, she established the university’s Ethnic Minorities Research Centre.
Dui Hua said that in addition to Dawut’s punishment, she would be permanently stripped of her political privileges.
In addition to Harvard and Cornell, Dawut’s work connected her to the universities in Washington, British Columbia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Cambridge. Several scholars have proposed filing an appeal with the Chinese government to have her released.
Using Dui Hua, Dawat’s daughter Akeda Pulati pleaded with the Chinese authorities to release her mother. She is said to be very concerned about her mother’s welfare and that her heart breaks at the prospect of her defenseless mother spending the rest of her life behind bars. She pleaded with China to have pity on her mother and free her.
Reports show Human rights abuses, including organ harvesting, rape, sterilization, and murder, according to survivors of the concentration camps, are being committed by China against Uighurs and other minorities.
China has effectively banned the local religion of Islam, forcibly separated children from their families, and placed them in communist boarding schools. They have demolished mosques, burial sites, and other cultural monuments.