Prosecutors in Xinjiang have charged 14 Uygurs, including three teenagers, with 'instigating and splitting the nation', a human rights group said yesterday. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said the three teenagers were middle-school students from Moyu county in Hotan district . They were arrested with 27 other people on March 23 when they joined a protest in a marketplace in support of freedom of religion. A spokeswoman from the Hotan district procurators office refused to confirm the report yesterday. 'I can't tell you any detail about the case because the information is very important,' she said. 'For such sensitive cases, you reporters should treat it very strictly and come to our office to apply for a face-to-face interview with higher level [personnel].' The rights group said more than 500 people took part in the March 23 protest in Hotan and about 10 people were injured after authorities sent in hundreds of armed police to quell the demonstration. The rights group said the protest was sparked by a local ban on worship which were not officially sanctioned in recent years. It said Xinjiang independence activists had hoped the Beijing Olympics would help draw world attention to their human rights issues. More than two thirds of the activists arrested in the past three years were aged between 20 and 30 and attended one of a group of 27 universities and middle schools, the rights group said.