China sentences six more to death over Uighur protests

Three of the six were given the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in prison.

China sentences six more to death over Uighur protests

China on Thursday sentenced six more people to death over protests in East Turkistan in July in which almost 200 people were killed in police crackdown, bringing the total to 12 as it delivered.

Three of the six were given the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in prison.

A court in the regional capital Urumqi sentenced three others to life in jail and five people to lesser prison terms for their role in the unrest that rocked the city.

A total of 21 defendants have been tried and convicted since Monday of murder and other crimes such as intentional damage to property, arson, and robbery.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said all the Uighurs who had stood trial so far had been denied a fair hearing, including the right to freely choose their defence lawyers.

"The Chinese judgements are only making the situation more tense," he said in an emailed statement.

Six people have already been sentenced to death for their involvement in the protests. Their names suggested they were all Uighurs.

Police have detained at least 718 people suspected of "crimes" related to the protests, earlier reports said.

197 people were killed and China claims most of them were "Han".

Last month, China announced the first charges to be laid in connection with the protest, with 21 people charged with "murder, arson, robbery and damaging property".

Earlier, a court handed out a death sentence to a Han Chinese man involved in a brawl in July blamed for being the trigger to Urumqi protests.

State media said a group of Han Chinese attacked ethnic Uighur workers at a factory in Shaoguan, Guangdong province, after a rumour spread that some Uighurs had raped two women. But no evicence found on rape accusations.

The courts in Shaoguan also gave another man life imprisonment, and nine others got sentences ranging from five to eight years in jail, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Two Uighur workers were beaten to death in the attack, and three others were severely injured.

After the rumor, Han then turned on the Uighurs, beating them with iron bars and stopping medical personnel from treating the wounded.

The man given the death sentence was a Han Chinese.

Following the incidents at factory, Uighur demonstrators took the streets in Urumqi on July 5 to protest against Han Chineses. Later, Hans in Urumqi sought bloody revenge two days later.

World Uighur Congress said that near 800 Uigurs were killed during a week-violence after Han Chineses attacks and following intervention of China forces. The China governmnet put the death toll 197.

Video appeared showing Chinese lynch that sparked Uighur protests. Exiled Uighur leaders said the protests were peaceful until security forces over-reacted with deadly force.


Agencies

Last Mod: 15 Ekim 2009, 16:47
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