Thursday, April 08, 2021

China executes two former Uyghur officials

 A Chinese court has sentenced two former Uyghur government officials to death in Xinjiang. They were accused of being involved in separatist activities. The ruling comes in the wake of Beijing's increasingly strict policy on minorities in the region.

One of the convicts, Shirjat Baudun, is a former head of the Xinjiang judiciary, the AFP news agency reported. He was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of conspiracy against the country. A statement from Xinjiang's official website said on Tuesday.

At a news conference, Wang Langtao, vice president of the Xinjiang Higher People's Court, said Baudun had conspired against a terrorist organization, taken bribes and carried out separatist activities.

According to China's state-run Xinhua news agency, Baudin had secret contacts with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang. In 2003, the organization was listed by the United Nations as a terrorist group. However, the United States dropped ETIM from its list of terrorist groups last November. Washington says there is no reliable evidence of allegations against the group.

Xinhua says Baudun was convicted of illegally providing information to foreign forces as well as illegal activities at his daughter's wedding. A statement from the court said Satar Sout, a former director of Xinjiang's education department, had been sentenced to death along with Baudun. He was also sentenced to two years in prison on charges of involvement in separatist activities and taking bribes.

Authorities say Sout has been convicted of collaborating in ethnic separatism, violence, terrorist activities and adding religious extremist content to Uyghur textbooks. According to court sources, many of the attackers in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, were inspired by these textbook contents. At least 200 people were killed in the 2009 attacks and violence.

The court also sentenced Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur economist and former college teacher, to life in prison for his alleged links to separatist groups.

Human rights groups estimate that one million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in Xinjiang. The United States says Uighurs and other minorities in the region are facing genocide. However, China has denied the allegations, saying the policies adopted in Xinjiang are necessary to curb violent extremism in the region.


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