Free Rahile Dawut, a Renowned Uyghur Scholar Detained in China

October 31, 2018

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned for Professor Rahile Dawut, a world-renowned scholar of Uyghur studies, who reportedly disappeared in China in December 2017. She is suspected of being held by state authorities at an undisclosed location. 

Rahile Dawut is a professor at Xinjiang University in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is internationally recognized as an expert in Uyghur folklore and traditions. She has received awards and grants from China’s Ministry of Culture, and is the founder of a folklore institute. SAR understands that, in December 2017, Professor Dawut reportedly told a relative of her plans to travel from Urumqi to Beijing. Since that time, however, her family and friends have lost contact with her. Professor Dawut’s family and friends announced her disappearance in August 2018. 

State authorities have not publicly disclosed Professor Dawut’s whereabouts or details of her well-being, access to legal counsel, or any charges against her. Professor Dawut’s family, along with human rights groups, suspects that she is among a growing number of Uyghurs who have been reportedly taken into custody by authorities and are being held at so-called “re-education camps,” in prisons, or at other detention facilities.

SAR calls for letters, emails, and faxes respectfully urging authorities to secure Professor Dawut’s immediate and unconditional release and pending this, to publicly disclose the circumstances of Professor Dawut’s detention, ensure her access to family and legal counsel, and ensure and that her case is addressed in a manner consistent with internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and detention, in accordance with China’s obligations under international law.

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