China sentences four Uighurs to death in Xinjiang attacks

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 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 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.

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  1. Sharia terror in Xinjiang?
    From China Daily, Dec. 30:

    URUMQI – Police opened fire during a hostage rescue mission and killed seven kidnappers in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Wednesday night, local authorities said on Thursday.

    A group of “violent terrorists” kidnapped two people in the remote mountainous area of Pishan county, Hotan prefecture, at about 11 pm on Wednesday. Police opened fire when the kidnappers “resisted arrest”, a spokesman for the Xinjiang autonomous regional government said.

    Seven kidnappers were shot dead, and four others were wounded and arrested. One police officer was killed and another wounded. The two hostages were freed.
    No more details were immediately available as authorities are still investigating the case.

    But there was speculation that the kidnapping was linked to a surge in religious extremism in the Muslim Uygur-dominated area that borders the Kashmir region controlled by Pakistan and India.

    Police reported another kidnapping earlier this month in Pishan in which extremists kidnapped and murdered a Uygur man for drinking alcohol, an act considered taboo by Muslims.