In two separate trials, courts in Xinjiang province sentenced to death four members of China’s Uighur minority in connection with violent incidents in Hotan and Kashgar in July that left around 40 dead. Two others were ordered imprisoned for 19 years, with a five year suspension of their political rights. The Chinese-language Xinjiang Legal Daily said in a report on the Tianshan.net news portal that the defendants were convicted of “forming and participating in a terrorist organization, the illegal manufacture of explosives, premeditated homicide, arson, and several other related crimes.” (Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey, RTTNews, WUC, Sept. 15)
The Germany-based World Uyghur Congress protested the sentences:
The speedy conviction of these individuals casts serious doubts on the legitimacy of these trials and the WUC believes that they did not meet international legal standards. In past trials against Uyghurs, confessions were extracted by torture, trial proceedings took place covertly on undisclosed dates, and defendants were denied access to a meaningful defence with lawyers of their own choosing. According to the Tianshannet.com statement, “defendants all confessed to the crimes alleged by the prosecution,” and the WUC has serious fears that these confessions were extracted through torture.
See our last post on the struggle in Xinjiang.