Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer protested death sentences handed down to six Uighur men this week for their role in July’s violent unrest in China’s Xinjiang region. “Chinese authorities are using these death sentences to send a political message representing brute force, fear and intimidation,” she said in a press release. “The trial of these six men occurred in an extremely charged political environment, and the men were not afforded due process as required by Chinese law.”
Kadeer further charged: “The Chinese government has done nothing to substantively address the root causes of the July unrest, and has responded to the unrest by carrying out killings and mass detentions of Uyghurs and bringing in tens of thousands of troops to the region. Chinese authorities have actively worked to exacerbate ethnic tensions in the region, and I fear that the politically-motivated sentences handed down to these six Uyghur men will only worsen tensions.” (Uyghur Human Rights Project, Oct. 13)
The People’s Court of Urumchi sentenced the six to death on murder charges Oct. 12. Their last names indicated all the convicts were ethnic Uighurs. Another six received the same sentence two days later—including at least one presumed to be Han Chinese. Another three received prison terms—again including one presumed Han. (NYT, Oct. 16; AP, Oct. 14) Also this week, two courts in Guangdong province sentenced one man to death, another to life imprisonment and nine others to terms ranging from five to eight years for their role in anti-Uighur attack at a factory that sparked the Xinjiang unrest. (NYT, Oct. 11)
See our last post on China and the Uighurs.
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