20 sent to jail in Xinjiang for terror activities

Updated: 2013-03-28 07:14

By Cui Jia and Cao Yin (China Daily)

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Courts in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Tuesday sentenced 20 people for their involvement in organized terror activities and for spreading extreme religious information via the Internet and mobile phones.

Four of the ringleaders were given life terms, local media reported on Wednesday.

Nineteen terror suspects involved in four cases were tried at the Intermediate People's Court of Kashgar prefecture, while the trial of the other suspect, charged with inciting secession, was held in the Beyinguoleng Mongolian autonomous prefecture, the Xinjiang Daily reported.

In Kashgar, Kadarjon Yumar and Memtyimin Bekre were sentenced to life for organizing six others to watch and distribute religious extremist videos produced by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist organization that aims to split China by means of terror and to establish an "Eastern Turkistan Islamic State" in Xinjiang.

The group of eight also organized and received physical training, and bought weapons. Police foiled their plans to assassinate local police officers. Apart from the two organizers, the rest of gang were given terms ranging from five to 15 years.

In 2003, the Ministry of Public Security released the first list of names of four "East Turkistan" terrorist groups and 11 East Turkistan terrorists. Apart from the ETIM, the East Turkistan Liberation Organization, the World Uygur Youth Congress and the East Turkistan Information Center were on the list.

The ministry published a list of six terrorists who are core members of ETIM in 2012 and froze their funds and assets.

In a separate case tried in Kashgar, Roz Balat and Abdukerem Abliz were given life sentences for leading another five-strong terror gang.

Besides organizing illegal religious activities and studying attacks carried out by ETIM by watching video footage, the suspects were also charged with attacks on the public as well as smashing cars, motorcycles and other property. The other members of the group were given terms ranging from 12 to 14 years.

Six suspects from two other terror gangs were given sentences ranging from nine to 15 years on Tuesday in Kashgar for organizing terror activities and spreading extreme religious information. They were also charged with illegally crossing the border and making explosives.

In Beyinguoleng, Kerem Memet was sentenced to 10 years for inciting secession. He set up an online chat room promoting separatism, terrorism and religious extremism to more than 200 registered users. Under Chinese Criminal Law, those who incite secession face sentences of five to 15 years.

Gulazat Turson, an expert at the law school of Xinjiang University, said: "In gang crimes, the terrorist organization is one of the most dangerous, because it can cause greater damage to the public and can destroy public order."

She said many terrorist actions have been defined as crimes under the law, while the courts will hand down harsher punishments to those who break the law.

Contact the writers at cuijia@chinadaily.com.cn and caoyin@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 03/28/2013 page5)