Beijing (AFP) Jan 26, 2010
A court in China's Xinjiang region sentenced four people to death over deadly riots in July, bringing to 26 the number of those condemned to die for the unrest, a government official said Tuesday.
The verdicts were handed down on Monday by a court in the regional capital Urumqi, scene of the violence that pitted mainly Muslim Uighurs against China's Han ethnic majority, leaving nearly 200 dead and over 1,600 injured.
"They were sentenced yesterday by the Urumqi Intermediate Court," a spokesman at the Xinjiang government who gave only his surname, Li, told AFP.
"Four people were sentenced to death, one was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and eight others got prison terms of up to life."
A death sentence with a reprieve is normally commuted to life in prison.
Monday's sentences brought to 26 the number of people who have been reported executed or condemned to die over their roles in the unrest, some of the worst ethnic violence in China in decades.
The Xinjiang Daily newspaper said verdicts came in five separate cases with the 13 defendants charged with the "violent crimes of attacking, smashing, looting and burning", a Chinese term that means violent rioting.
The defendants' names provided by the Xinjiang Daily appeared to be Uighur, the Turkic-speaking Muslim minority group that has long complained of Chinese repression.
During the initial eruption of violence on July 5, Uighurs attacked Han Chinese, but in subsequent days mobs of Han roamed the streets seeking revenge.
Uighurs say the violence was sparked when police cracked down harshly on peaceful demonstrations in Urumqi that were held to protest the beating deaths of two Uighur migrant workers at a factory in southern China.
Authorities quickly implemented a clampdown on communications in and out of Xinjiang after the riots, blocking Internet access, text messages and international phone calls.
These restrictions have only just been lifted, although the Internet is still only partly accessible.
China says it faces a serious separatist threat in Xinjiang and has vowed harsh retribution for those found guilty of wrongdoing in the unrest.
State media said earlier this month that funding for public security in Xinjiang would nearly double in 2010.
A budget proposal placed before Xinjiang's legislature called for 2.89 billion yuan (423 million dollars) to be spent on public security, up from 1.54 billion yuan in 2009, the official China Daily reported.
But exiled Uighurs say Beijing exaggerates the separatist threat to justify harsh controls in the strategic western region, which is rich in energy reserves and borders on several central Asian countries.
Earlier this year, authorities also issued orders to step up identity checks and monitor religious activities in Xinjiang in a renewed bid to quash terrorism, separatism and extremism, state media reported.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
News From Across The Stans
Gates visit stresses terror threats
Islamabad, Pakistan (UPI) Jan 26, 2009
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' warnings about the agenda of terror groups in South Asia, where he traveled last week, were forthright, leaving no room for confusion, but Pakistan's response did not cheer U.S. officials. In an op-ed in Pakistan's The News written to coincide with his arrival in that country, Gates said: "It is important to remember that the Pakistani Taliban ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2009 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|