The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought honors individuals who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights.
Ilham Tohti is a renowned Uyghur human rights defender, economics professor and advocate of the rights of China’s Uyghur minority. For over two decades, he has worked tirelessly to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and other Chinese people. In September 2014 Tohti was sentenced to life in prison for his activism following a 2-day show trial. He remains a voice of moderation and reconciliation in spite of what he has suffered.