Eight sentenced to death for Xinjiang terrorist attacks

World Today

Emergency services outside Urumqi South railway station after the attack in April. Photograph: AP

A court in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region sentenced eight people to death Monday in connection with two terrorist attacks in April and May in the regional capital, Urumqi.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Urumqi sentenced another five to death with a two-year reprieve, and  the remaining four were sentenced to five years or more in prison.

Xinjiang saw its bloodiest day in five years on May 22 when 39 people were killed and 94 injured in an attack on a market in Urumqi. On April 30, three people were killed and 79 were injured in an attack at a railway station in the city.

Those sentenced to death include Ahmat Rixit, head of the group responsible for April’s violence, and Abliz Dawut and Nurahmat Ablipiz, main plotters of the May attack.

From February 2010 to April 2014, Ahmat Rexit and his associates gathered many times to listen to and watch audio and video clips about terror under the guidance of Ismail Yusup, a member of the terrorist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

In cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization, Chinese police are hunting Ismail Yusup who is believed to be outside China.

On April 30, as Chinese President Xi Jinping was wrapping up a tour to the ethnic region, an explosion shook a train station in the regional capital, killing three people, including two attackers.

CCTV said two men were sentenced to death in the train attack. The defendants said on national television that they were instructed by a man outside China to carry out the attack. CCTV said the man was connected to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a group that China has designated a terrorist organization.

About three weeks later, on May 22, four men drove two SUVs through a crowded market in central Urumqi and tossed explosives out of the car windows, killing themselves and 39 others.

This story is compiled with information from Xinhua and CCTV News.