Monday, November 9, 2009

9 People were executes over Xinjiang unrest


China has executed nine people over deadly ethnic unrest in its far-western Xinjiang region, regional authorities said today, the first executions since the violence in July.

"The first group of nine people who were sentenced to death recently have already been executed in succession, with the approval of the Supreme Court," Hou Hanmin, spokeswoman for the Xinjiang government, said.

It was not clear when the executions took place. According to previous statements by the Xinjiang government, this first group consisted of eight members of the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority and one majority Han Chinese.

China tried and convicted 21 defendants in October, nine were sentenced to death, three were given the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in jail, and the rest were given various prison terms.

The violence erupted on July 5, pitting Uighurs against members of China's dominant Han group, leaving 197 dead and more than 1,600 injured, according to an official toll.

Han vigilantes then went on a rampage against Uighurs two days later, but the exact number of casualties from that day has never been divulged.

The 21 defendants were convicted of crimes such as murder, intentional damage to property, arson, and robbery.

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