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Six sentenced to death for unrest in Xinjiang

The prisoners held responsible for murder and other crimes during the protests last July. The authorities evidently wish to close criminal investigations immediately and with exemplary sentences: in less than a month the death sentence is handed down.
October 12, 2009

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Today in Xinjiang 6 more men were sentenced to death and another to life imprisonment for murder and other crimes committed in the street protests last July in Urumqi, the regional capital, which killed at least 197 dead and 1,600 injured according to official figures.

The Urumqi Intermediate Court of the People sentenced to death Abdukerim Abduwayit, Yeni Yusup, Abdulla Mettohti, Adil Rozi, Nurel Wuxiu'er and Alim Metyusup. Tayirejan Abulimit was "only" given a life sentence because he admitted the charges of murder and robbery and helped the police to capture Metyusup Alim. Xinhua reports do not specify the ethnicity of the convicted, but they appear to be Uyghurs.

The protests, which erupted in reaction to the murder of two Uyghurs by Han Chinese, resulted in veritable urban warfare between the two ethnic groups. Since then the city is guarded by the army and police. Today the area around the court was closed down to all traffic. State television showed empty streets heavily patrolled by police.

After the riots, the police arrested thousands of people. Uyghur groups in exile denounce that their plight is being almost totally ignored.  In September the authorities announced charges against 21 people for murder, fire, theft and damage.

Two days ago there was a death sentence, a sentence to life imprisonment and others to numerous years in prison, against the ethnic Han held responsible for the murder of the two Uyghurs that sparked the protests of July  (in the picture: the trial of two days ago.)

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