China court hands down death penalty
Beijing - A Chinese court has sentenced an ethnic Uighur man to death after convicting him of terrorist acts, including a deadly knife-and-hatchet attack in February in the country's restive far west.
An official news site run by the regional government of Xinjiang reported Tuesday that a Kashgar court handed down the verdict on Monday against Abudukeremu Mamuti. The court said he spread religious extremism and terrorism while recruiting others between July 2011 and February this year.
The news site, Tianshannet.com.cn, said that on February 28 Mamuti armed members of his group with knives and hatchets before they went to a street in Yecheng town, where they killed 15 people and wounded 14 others. The town is slightly more than 200km north of the Pakistan border.
Tension between ethnic Uighurs and China's dominant Han ethnic group has been on the rise in Xinjiang. Periodically, the discord flares into violence. In 2009, riots in the regional capital of Urumqi left almost 200 people dead.
Xinjiang saw more deadly violence in 2011, when a group of Uighurs stormed a police station in the city of Hotan, also in the southern part of Xinjiang, and took hostages, killing four. Authorities said 14 of the attackers were shot by police.
State media said relatives of Mamuti and of the victims were allowed to attend the hearing.