A Muslim Uighur scholar and academic, Ilham Tohti was found guilty of
"separatism" and sentenced to life in prison in 2014. A moderate advocate for
China's ethnic Uyghur minority population, he founded a website devoted to social
issues called, Uyghur Online, which published articles in both Chinese and
Uyghur. Authorities interpreted these articles as being critical of the Han
Tohti was awarded the Pen/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, an
American human rights award given to writers anywhere in the world who fight for
freedom of expression.