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6 sentenced to death in rioting

October 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A court in China's far western region of Xinjiang sentenced six men to death over riots between Muslim Uighurs and members of the Han Chinese majority that killed nearly 200 people in July.

The sentences, the first for any of the scores of suspects arrested in the rioting, appeared aimed at placating Han Chinese who have rallied in the regional capital of Urumqi calling for swift justice. An overseas Uighur activist said the sentences were likely to exacerbate the ethnic tensions that bubbled over into China's worst communal violence in decades.

Xinjiang has been under heavy security since the strife, and state TV showed paramilitary troops in riot gear surrounding the courthouse.

State media said that seven people were convicted of murder, arson and robbery. Six received the death penalty and the seventh was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The violence flared July 5 after police broke up a protest by Uighur youths demanding an investigation of a deadly brawl between Hans and Uighurs at a toy factory in southern China.

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