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Daughter Of Jailed Uyghur Activist Accepts Sakharov Award

European Parliament Honors Jailed Uyghur Activist
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The daughter of Ilham Tohti, an advocate for China's Uyghur minority who is currently serving a life sentence in China on separatism-related charges, has received the EU's highest rights prize on his behalf.

Jewher Ilham accepted the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for her father at a ceremony on December 18 in the European Parliament in the northeastern French city of Strasbourg.

She received the prize from European Parliament President David Sassoli, who said that Tohti, who has been in jail since 2014, "managed to give a voice to the Uyghurs."

Ilham said that "there is no freedom for Uyghurs in China," which is facing growing international condemnation for its actions in Xinjiang.

Some 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims are believed to be held in facilities in the remote western region. Beijing says these facilities are reeducation and training centers but activists call them mass detention camps.

Chinese officials have said they are trying to stave off extremism in Xinjiang after "absurd preachings" from Islamist extremists there had turned some people into "murderous devils."

The Sakharov Prize, consisting of a certificate and 50,000 euros ($55,740), is named after Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.

It was established in 1988 by the European Parliament to honor individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Last year's winner, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, collected the prize at a ceremony in Strasbourg last month. Sentsov was released from Russian custody earlier this year as part of a prisoner swap with Ukraine.

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