Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Authorities in Northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang region have given permission for relatives of jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti to visit him in prison. "[His brother] is getting ready to visit him in Urumqi," Tohti's wife, Guzelnur, told Radio Free Europe. "This will be the third [family] visit." Guzelnur, who has been left with very little income to care for the couple's young sons in Beijing, said she is currently feeling unwell and will be unable to make the trip to Xinjiang for the visit. "He will go this time, and maybe next time it'll be me who goes," she said. "His parents are sick, so they can't go." The former professor at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing was sentenced to life in prison following his conviction on a charge of “separatism” by the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court in Xinjiang on September 23, 2014. Guzelnur said her husband is being held in his own cell at Urumqi's No. 1 Prison and is receiving medical check-ups every two weeks. He spends most of him time reading books, she said. Despite this care, there are stringent restrictions surrounding such family visits, which are limited to once every three months, 30 minutes per visit. "We'll go once a year," Guzelnur said. "Otherwise, the kids just get so upset when they have just visited their father. When we came back from the last visit last September, they were feeling very low, and they missed their father the whole time."