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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Court sentences 6 to death over northwest China riots

RIA Novosti

10:29 15/10/2009 BEIJING, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - A court in Urumqi, the capital of China's northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, sentenced six people to death on Thursday over July's deadly riots in the city, Xinhua said on Thursday.

Three people were convicted of "serious violence-related crimes" and put on death row, while the other three received suspended death sentences, which may be commuted to life sentences if they show good behavior for the next two years.

The court also sentenced three rioters to life sentences, and five to lesser prison terms.

Trials of more than 200 people detained during Urumqi's worst ethnic violence in a decade started in August. Six people were sentenced to death, and one to life imprisonment earlier this week. Last week, a court in southern China sentenced a Han Chinese man to death for his part in the factory brawl which sparked the unrest.

Official reports say 197 people died and 1,600 were wounded in the riots, which began when a group of protesters demanded an investigation into the death of two ethnic Uighurs in Guangdong during a fight with Han Chinese workers.

Xinjiang is located in the far northwest of China, and borders Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the Pakistani- and Indian-controlled parts of Kashmir. The separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement is active in the region.

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