By Emre Aytekin
Uyghur Islamic scholar Muhammad Salih Hajim has died in a Chinese political indoctrination camp, World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said.
The Thursday statement noted that in December 2017, Hajim (82) was held and subjected to political indoctrination and propaganda.
Hajim has translated the Holy Quran from Arabic to Uyghur language, the international group of exiled Uyghur said.
"[He] was very likely subjected to torture and ill-treatment during his imprisonment
“Mr. Hajim’s death has occurred in the midst of a massive crackdown by the Chinese authorities on the Uyghur people in general and especially on their right to freedom of religion.
“Hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of Uyghurs have been arrested across East Turkestan and sent to ‘re-education’ camps for peacefully practicing their religion, expressing themselves freely, or for having any dissident relatives or associates,” it added.
The statement also announced that the Chinese government has refused to publicize the deaths in the camp.
Many refer to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region -- home to many ethnic minority groups, including Turkic Uighur people -- as East Turkestan.
They believe that Uyghur are among a number of Turkic tribes that inhabit the region, and consider it to be part of Central Asia, not China.
Uyghur, a Turkic group that makes up around 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, has accused China of carrying out repressive policies that restrain their religious, commercial and cultural activities.