East Turkestan: China executes two Uighur Separatists, jails 16
In one of its biggest such cases in recent years, China has executed two separatists from its Uighur ethnic minority and jailed 16 to terms ranging from five years to life on charges of damaging national security.
Aihe Maititashi and Luoheman Maimaiti were put to death in the predominantly Muslim far western region of Xinjiang on July 21 after a court found them guilty of illegally producing explosives, the World Uighur Congress said.
"They were executed in Shaya county. This is the biggest case involving separatists in the region in recent years," an official from the Shaya County People's Court told Reuters on Friday.
Two Uighurs were sentenced to life in prison and 14 more to jail terms ranging from five to 20 years, the Germany-based Musilim group said in a statement.
The court confirmed those sentences, but declined to give further details.
Many of the Turkic-speaking Uighurs who make up the majority of Xinjiang's 19 million people favour greater autonomy for the region, and some dream of establishing an independent state one day they would call East Turkestan.
Beijing has backed the U.S.-led war on terror, and called for international support for its campaign against Uighur separatists, whom it has branded terrorists.
The United States has put the East Islamic Movement on its list of terrorist organisations.
"(The convicted) were involved in activities such as making explosives and organising underground groups, and they directly or indirectly participated in activities that threatened national security," the court official said.
China says Uighurs seeking an independent Islamic state have killed 162 people and injured 440 others.
China executes more people than the rest of the world combined, putting them to death either by lethal injection or by a single bullet to the back of the head.
Source: The San Diego Union Tribune