- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Ilham Tohti, the economist and activist imprisoned by Chinese authorities, has been awarded a Freedom to Write Award by the PEN American Center.

PEN, the literary and human rights organization, announced Monday that Tohti will be honored at a gala on May 5. Tohti’s daughter, Jewher Ulham, will appear on his behalf. The award is officially called the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, named for the philanthropist who sponsors the prize.

The 44-year-old Tohti was arrested in late February and accused of inciting secession more than a month after being taken by force from his Beijing home without explanation. An economics professor at Minzu University of China in Beijing, he has been outspoken about the rights of the Turkic Uighur ethnic minority in the far-western region of Xinjiang.

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