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Chinese prosecutors charge Uighur academic with separatism

Published on Jul 31, 2014 3:47 AM

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese prosecutors on Wednesday charged a prominent ethnic Uighur academic with separatism following his detention earlier this year, sparking renewed international calls for his release.

Prosecutors in the far western Xinjiang region filed the motion with a court in the city of Urumqi, according to their official account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Prosecutors said they "instituted proceedings at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court against defendant Ilham Tohti who is suspected of separatism".

Tohti, who taught at a university in Beijing, has been a vocal critic of the government's policies toward his mostly Muslim Uighur minority, who are concentrated in Xinjiang. His lawyer Li Fangping could not immediately be reached for comment.

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