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China trial of Uighur scholar within weeks, lawyer says

Published on Jul 31, 2014 1:52 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A prominent ethnic Uighur professor from China's Xinjiang region could be tried on separatism charges within weeks, his lawyer said on Thursday, in a case that has attracted concern over judicial and human rights abuses.

China on Wednesday formally indicted Ilham Tohti, an economist who has championed the rights of the Muslim Uighur community from the region, which has been beleaguered by violence and ethnic tension.

The case has attracted high-level concern in the United States and European Union and is seen by rights groups as part of China's crackdown on dissent in Xinjiang, where tension between Uighurs and majority Han Chinese has led to outbursts of violence.

Beijing police detained Tohti in January and later took him to the Xinjiang capital Urumqi, where he was accused of promoting and supporting the region's independence from China.

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