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17-12-08, 11:20
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081217/wl_asia_afp/chinaxinjiangattacksoly2008;_ylt=ApZ2r.AezUA.9E7yl MUT8nsBxg8F

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17-12-08, 12:47
China says two 'terrorists' will be executed for pre-Olympic attack
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Digg Facebook Newsvine del.icio.us Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Bookmarks Print by Karl Malakunas Karl Malakunas – Wed Dec 17, 8:11 am ET AFP/File – An ethnic Uighur sits under a poster of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the city of Kashgar in China's … BEIJING (AFP) – China announced Wednesday that two Islamic "terrorists" would be executed for a deadly attack on police that was staged four days before the Beijing Olympics and intended to sabotage the Games.

The men were convicted of murder following the attack in China's Muslim-populated Xinjiang region that left 17 people dead and another 15 injured, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Supreme Court.

The August 4 attack was the worst in a wave of unrest in remote Xinjiang ahead of, and during, the Olympics that left dozens of people dead and that China blamed on separatist militants from the northwest region.

Xinhua described the two men who were sentenced to death, Abdurahman Azat, 33, and Kurbanjan Hemit, 28, as "terrorists" and said they had also been found guilty of illegally making guns, ammunition and explosives.

"The two conducted the terrorist attack to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games," Xinhua reported, citing a Supreme Court statement on Wednesday.

The attack, which took place in the famed Old Silk Road city of Kashgar, saw the two men drive a truck at a group of 70 police officers and then assault them with explosives and knives, according to Xinhua.

Chinese officials previously said the attackers were carrying documents advocating "holy war" and linked them to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, listed by China and the United Nations as a terrorist organisation.

Xinhua had also previously reported the two were from Xinjiang's ethnic Uighur group, a Turkic-speaking people who have long chafed at communist Chinese rule.

Xinjiang, a vast area that borders Central Asia, has about 8.3 million Uighurs, and many of them say they have for decades suffered under Chinese political and religious persecution.

Exiled Uighur groups immediately condemned the sentencing, as well as China's heavy handed crackdown on suspected terrorists in the restive region.

"China's persecution in Xinjiang has taken every right away from the Uighur people," Dilxat Raxit, a Germany-based spokesman for the World Uighur Congress.

"Right now every Uighur faces the danger of being arrested and they can be arrested for no reason at all."

Two short-lived East Turkestan republics emerged in Xinjiang in the 1930s and 1940s, at a time when central government control in China was weakened by civil war and Japanese invasion.

Analysts had said the violence was the worst in Xinjiang for years, and was partly triggered by Uighur separatists wanting to raise publicity while the world spotlight was focused on China for the Olympics.

However Xinjiang is thousands of kilometres (miles) from Beijing, and no terrorist attacks directly threatened the Games or the Chinese capital.

Among the other major attacks in Xinjiang during the Olympic period, an attack on a police station in the city of Kuqa two days after the Games started resulted in the deaths of 10 attackers and a security guard.

And on August 12, three security guards were killed and a fourth wounded by knife-wielding assailants during an attack on a checkpoint at Yamanya, a town 30 kilometres from Kashgar.

Xinhua reported on Wednesday that five terrorist groups in Xinjiang had been cracked and 82 suspected terrorists detained in the first half of this year, repeating figures published previously in the state-run press.

The Uighurs' exiled leader, Rebiya Kadeer, had repeatedly condemned the August violence.

It has proved extremely difficult to obtain independent information about events in Xinjiang, with foreign reporters blocked from going to some of the sensitive areas and local authorities often refusing to comment