3 more get death penalty for China riot

The official Xinhua news agency reported that a court in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s regional capital, also sentenced three defendants to suspended death sentences, which could be commuted to life sentences in two years. At least two of those sentenced were Han Chinese. The others appeared to be Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group that calls Xinjiang its homeland, judging from their names.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said all the Uighurs who had stood trial so far had been denied a fair hearing, including the right to freely choose their defence lawyers. Six people have already been sentenced to death for their involvement in the ethnic unrest between Uighurs and Han Chinese. Their names suggested they were all Uighurs.

Last month, China announced the first charges to be laid in connection with the unrest, with 21 people charged with murder, arson, robbery and damaging property during ethnic riots that erupted in Urumqi on July 5. In Xinjiang’s worst ethnic violence in decades, Uighurs attacked majority Han Chinese in Urumqi. The violence left 197 people, mostly Han Chinese, dead and wounded more than 1,600.

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