China Sentences 3 Muslim Uighurs to Death

Posted December 11th, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Chinese state media say three Muslim Uighurs have been sentenced to death after they were found guilty of trying to hijack a plane earlier this year.

The official Xinhua news agency reported a Chinese court sentenced a fourth man to life in prison Tuesday over the attempted hijacking in June in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Xinhua said the men were charged with organizing, leading and taking part in a terrorist group, and attempting to detonate explosives on an airplane.

Authorities originally said six members of China's Uighur ethnic minority group tried to hijack a plane that took off from Hotan in Xinjiang, but that they were subdued by passengers and crew.

State media reported two of the men died from injuries sustained during the fight. But Uighur advocacy groups have disputed the government's account of the incident.

Xinjiang is home to a large population of Muslim Uighurs, many of whom complain about religious and cultural repression by Chinese authorities.

Clashes are common in Xinjiang between Uighurs and Chinese security personnel. China has blamed the unrest on Pakistan-trained Uighur Chinese.