Ilham Tohti was famous for pushing back against the material and social dispossession of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims. When even this moderate scholar was silenced five years ago, it signalled that there was no more space to publicly suggest ways to oppose the elimination of Uyghur culture. The Sakharov Prize honors the dignity of Uyghur social life and the way Ilham Tohti strove to protect it.
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