(AFP) – Jul 12, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — China has executed two ethnic minority Uighur Muslims convicted of terrorist and separatist activities and jailed 15 others for similar crimes, the US-based Radio Free Asia reported.
The pair were paraded before locals before being executed in the oasis city of Kashgar in China's westernmost Xinjiang region on July 9, the report said.
Mukhtar Setiwaldi and Abduweli Imin were convicted in a trial last November and executed immediately they were sentenced, the report said, citing local officials and witnesses at the rally.
The report could not be immediately verified.
The other 15 were handed out sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison, Radio Free Asia said.
All 17 were convicted of being members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which Beijing considers a terrorist organisation.
On Thursday last week, China said it faced a serious terror threat from Muslim-majority Xinjiang ahead of the August 8-24 Beijing Olympics, as it announced 82 "suspected terrorists" had been detained there this year.
The 82 belonged to five groups that "allegedly plotted sabotage against the Beijing Olympics," the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the police chief in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang region that borders Central Asia.
It was the first time that Chinese officials had given a total number of suspects detained in a series of previously reported raids this year.
The announcement came a day after state press said police shot dead five knife-wielding Muslims and detained 10 others in Urumqi who allegedly wanted to launch a "holy war".
Urumqi police chief Chen Zhuangwei said 41 illegal places of worship in Xinjiang had been closed this year because they were training grounds for "holy war."
"From now, all police officers must act urgently, get involved once more in Olympic security, to make sure large and small incidents alike do not happen," Chen said, according to the Xinjiang Daily newspaper.
Exiled members of Xinjiang's Turkic-speaking Uighur population have repeatedly denied that a major terrorist threat exists in the region.
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