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3 sentenced to death for deadly mass stabbings in China

September 12
03:34 2014

3 sentenced to death for deadly mass stabbings in ChinaBEIJING: Three Muslim Uygurs from the restive Xinjiang province were today sentenced to death and a woman to life for their involvement in the deadly mass stabbings of passengers at a railway station in southern China early this year, in which 31 people were killed.

Iskandar Ehet, Turgun Tohtunyaz and Hasayn Muhammad were sentenced to death by the Kunming Municipal Intermediate People’s Court for leading a terrorist organization and intentional homicide, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

A fourth suspect Patigul Tohti, an Uygur woman who allegedly took part in the attack was sentenced to life for the “intentional homicide”, the report said.

She was reportedly caught during the attack which sent shock waves across China.

Public trial of the four began this morning.

China said the attack was planned and executed by al-Qaeda-backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighting for the independence of resource-rich Xinjiang.

On March 1, a group of assailants armed with knives attacked civilians at Kunming city’s railway station hacking everyone who came their way.

Thirty-one people were killed and 141 others injured.

Police shot dead four of the attackers and detained the four who stood trial today.

ETIM is active in Xinjiang where the native Muslim Uygurs are restive over the increasing settlements of Han Chinese from other provinces.

Lawmakers, political advisors and some victims and their relatives were among more than 300 members of the public present at the ongoing trial.

Meanwhile, Chinese prosecutors, especially those in Xinjiang have been told to fast-track cases involving terrorists, religious extremists and manufacturers of firearms and explosives, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) said.

Also, the Supreme People’s Court instructed courts in Xinjiang to speed up trials of terror cases and deliver exemplary penalties. Counter-terrorism is to be a priority of prosecutors as part of tough measures against the “three evil forces” — terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Human trafficking cases will also be fast-tracked, said a statement issued after a meeting on Xinjiang issues.

The statement emphasized that these cases must be handled without discrimination and under the principle of tempering justice with mercy.

Besides fighting terrorism, prosecutors are instructed to protect legitimate rights and interests of people from all ethnic groups and help implement the country’s religious policies amid allegations of discrimination against minority communities.

So far police in Xinjiang claim to have cracked more than 200 last year.

A series of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang shocked the country this year, with the latest in early August when 37 civilians were killed and another 13 injured in Shache County of Kashgar Prefecture.–PTI

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