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Thread: China sentences 3 more to death for riot violence

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    Default China sentences 3 more to death for riot violence

    China sentences 3 to death for riot violence
    Last Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2009 | 5:11 AM ET Comments0Recommend1The Associated Press
    China sentenced three people to death Thursday over murders committed during riots in the western Xinjiang region in July, bringing the number of people facing the death penalty for the riots to nine.

    Nearly 200 people were killed when riots erupted in the regional capital of Urumqi, with Muslim Uighurs attacking members of China's dominant Han ethnic group. It was the country's worst communal violence in decades.

    The official Xinhua News Agency said three new defendants were sentenced to death by the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court and three others were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve — a penalty usually commuted to life in prison.

    One of the condemned men appeared to be Han Chinese based on his name, Han Junbo, and was convicted of beating a Uighur man to death during vigilante attacks two days after the initial riots, Xinhua said. The others had Uighur names, except for one defendant sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve whose name was not included in the report.

    The Uighur men sentenced to death were convicted of murder for the beating deaths of two people on July 5.

    Three other defendants were given life sentences and five were given prison terms of different lengths, Xinhua said. A spokeswoman for the Xinjiang regional government, Hou Hanmin, said all those given jail terms appeared to be Uighur except for Liu Bo, a Han Chinese, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for helping Han carry out revenge attacks.

    The report did not say what plea the defendants entered or if they would appeal.

    Scores of suspects
    On Monday, six Uighur defendants were sentenced to death by the same court. Those sentences were the first to be handed down in the trials of scores of suspects arrested during and after the riots.

    The violence flared on July 5 after a protest by Uighur youths demanding an investigation into a deadly brawl between Han and Uighur workers at a toy factory in southern China.

    Angry Uighurs attacked random bystanders in Urumqi, an overwhelmingly Han city in the heart of the Uighurs' traditional homeland. Two days later, Han carried out revenge attacks in Uighur neighbourhoods as security forces struggled to restore order.

    The government has blamed the rioting on overseas-based groups agitating for more Uighur rights in Xinjiang. Beijing has presented no direct evidence, and overseas Uighur activists have denied supporting violence.

    One of those figures blamed by Beijing, World Uyghur Congress head Rebiya Kadeer, condemned the earlier sentences, saying the accused had been denied due legal process and warning the court's actions could stir new unrest.

    Kadeer has denied any role in the protests and denounced the use of violence.

    Swift punishment of those arrested over the rioting were among the demands of Han protesters who swarmed into Urumqi's streets early last month calling for the firing of Xinjiang's powerful Communist Party boss Wang Lequan. Five people died in the protests under circumstances that remain unclear.

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