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Exile group calls on China to release Uighur academic charged with separatism

Published on Jul 31, 2014 9:36 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - An Uighur exile group on Thursday demanded the immediate release of a scholar charged with separatism in China, saying the decision to prosecute him was political in nature.

"We demand China immediately correct its mistaken methods and release Ilham Tohti," Mr Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said in an e-mail.

Mr Raxit said that China's accusation against Tohti was a "complete political decision" and not based on law.

Prosecutors in the far western Xinjiang region on Wednesday announced they were charging Tohti with separatism following his detention earlier this year, sparking renewed international calls for his release. A conviction of separatism in China can be punished by death.

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