08/13/2013, 00.00
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Xinjiang, Uyghurs sentenced to death for "terrorism"

A provincial court handed down the sentence against Musa Hesen and Rehman Hupur, involved in the April riots in Kashgar, where 21 people died. Judges rule they are also guilty of having founded a group "that has carried on illegal religious activities for years with the aim of promoting extremism." Local population rally to their defense.

Urumqi (AsiaNews) - The government of the northern province of Xinjiang this morning sentenced to death two members of Uyghur ethnicity arrested in the aftermath of clashes in April in the prefecture of Kashgar, during which 21 people died. The courts ruled that Musa Hesen and Rehman Hupur are guilty of "terrorism" and "murder." Musa also has been accused of having founded a group "that has carried on illegal religious activities for years with the aim of promoting extremism."

The province is one of the most turbulent in all of China: It is home to the ethnic Uyghur, Turkic speaking peoples of the Islamic religion, who have always sought to gain independence from Beijing. The central government has sent hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese to the region to try to make them the dominant ethnic group. It also imposes serious restrictions on freedom of religion, Muslim practices, the teaching of the language and the local culture.

Since 2009 a special system of Chinese police and army control is in place, imposed by Beijing after the riots in which nearly 200 people lost their lives. As a result of the violence hundreds of custodial sentences and dozens of death sentences were meted out. The Chinese authorities believe that the perpetrators of violence are Muslim extremists, but exiles claim that Beijing is "exaggerating" the threat of Islamic terrorism to justify the repression against the Uyghur population. Even the latest violence (in chronological order) was reported in different ways.

According to police, the clashes were born after an investigation carried out in the home of one of the convicts who "hid explosives that could have been used to make 10 bombs." The alleged terrorists reportedly kidnapped agents by deception, then set fire to the house to kill them. The population however claims that the clashes were sparked by the police insisted that the men "shave their beards and women take off their veils" in the town of Selibuya.


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See also
"Terrorist" attack in an Urumqi market: 31 dead
Six sentenced to death for unrest in Xinjiang
Xinjiang, police open fire on crowd: 27 victims
Death sentence for a Chinese Han, at the origin of Xinjiang clashes
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