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    » 07/03/2012, 00.00

    CHINA

    Xinjiang: two Hotan "hijackers" die under suspicious circumstances



    Six Uyghurs were arrested last Friday accused of trying to hijack a plane. Two have died under police guard. Uyghur groups based abroad say they were tortured after they got involved in an interethnic row. The "authorities captured six people and had a chance to bring them to court to show what really happened in the incident. If China were a country ruled by law, they could have done this."

    Urumqi (AsiaNews) - Two of the six Uyghur men who allegedly tried to hijack a plane in China's troubled northwestern Xinjiang region have died in hospital under police guard from the injuries they sustained when passengers subdued them. Exile groups have disputed the official version of event, blaming torture instead.

    According to Chinese officials, the six tried to hijack a plane after it took off from Hotan airport bound for Urumqi, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but were stopped by passengers and crew. The plane returned to the Hotan airport and the six were taken into police custody.

    The Germany-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which monitors human and religious rights in Xinjiang, has a different version of events, saying that the plane turned around after a fight broke out between Uyghur and Han Chinese passengers over seating arrangements.

    The "authorities captured six people and had a chance to bring them to court to show what really happened in the incident. If China were a country ruled by law, they could have done this," WUC general secretary Dolkun Isa said.

    The northern province of Xinjiang has been a sore spot for China's Communist government. Since it was annexed under Mao Zedong, its largest group, ethnic Uyghur Muslims, have sought to re-establish the region's independence as East Turkestan. Beijing has countered this push by a policy of total control, banning the local language and preventing minors from attending mosques.

    The six suspects-Musa Yusup, Ababekri Ibrahim, Ershidinqari Imin, Memeteli Yusup, Yasin Memet, and Omer Imin-are all from the southern city of Kashgar, ranging in age between 26 and 30 years. The names of the two who died have not been released. Various sources claim they died under torture in an attempt to extract a confession of terrorism.

    On 1 July, Zhou Yongkang, head of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, condemned in a speech suspicious deaths in prison and the use of violence against detainees. For him, "law enforcement must always and under all circumstances uphold the positions of the central government, centred on President Hu Jintao."

     

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    See also

    13/11/2014 CHINA
    Xinjiang 22 Islamic preachers sentenced for inciting hatred
    The penalties range from five to 16 years in prison. Accusations include charges of separatism, ethnic hatred and disturbing the peace. The verdict was read in public in Kashgar. Increasingly the provincial epicenter of inter-ethnic clashes.

    09/07/2009 CHINA
    Urumqi is "under control" thanks to soldiers, the death penalty and publicity
    Order maintained by 20 thousand soldiers. Death penalty for those who have killed, undermining coexistence between Han and Uyghurs. Campaign against "plots" of Rebiya Kadeer, accused of terrorism. Turkey will bring the issue of the Uyghurs before the UN Security Council. The fear in Beijing is that the ethnic problem melds with other situations of discontent and crises in the country.

    12/12/2014 CHINA
    Xinjiang want to ban burqa: Could spark unrest
    The burqa, a garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, is considered a symbol of religious extremism by the local authorities. Authorities already said they would ban the practice of religion in government workplaces, public schools and state-owned enterprises from next year.

    29/12/2009 CHINA
    On Christmas day, five Uyghurs sentenced to death for their role in Xinjiang’s July protest
    Trials were held on 22 and 23 December but were not reported by Chinese media. Eight people got life in prison and four were sentenced to ten years and more. The authorities announce more trials. Beijing wants to pursue its crackdown on Uyghurs but keep it a secret from the world.

    26/06/2013 CHINA
    Xinjiang, police open fire on crowd: 27 victims
    In the remote western province, hotbed of ethnic clashes between Han and Uyghurs, tension continues unabated. A group of people assault police station and officers, who open fire at point blank range to repel them.



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