Rights Group Slams Chinas Execution of Uyghur Man


2004-07-13
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An international human rights group has condemned the execution of a Uyghur man for allegedly making explosives and firearms, promoting separatism, and training terrorists.

Kuerban Tudaji was sentenced to death on June 30 after being convicted of "manufacturing explosives, firearms and ammunition," "attempting to split the country," and "organizing terrorist training" between 1998 and 2000, according to official media and court officials.

"Amnesty International strongly condemned the reported execution, voicing concern that Kuerban Tudaji did not receive a fair trial," the group said in a statement Tuesday. "The organization urges the Chinese authorities to make public the nature of the evidence against him and whether he had full guarantees for his defense."

He had reportedly declared a jihad or "holy war" against China, official media said. No further details are available about the evidence against him or whether he had access to a lawyer.

Fu Rongqing, a spokesman for the Supreme People's Court in Xinjiang, was quoted as confirming the execution of Kuerban Tudaji to the Associated Press, but was unsure of the date the execution was carried out.

Death sentences in China typically are carried out shortly after the last appeal fails. Most executions are by gunshot to the head or neck, while some courts use lethal injection.

Fu said Kuerban Tudaji was convicted of seeking independence for Xinjiang, or trying to "split China," in legal terms, and for making and transporting explosives and ammunition.

Human rights groups and Western governments routinely criticize China for its heavy-handed treatment of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.

Beijing has backed the U.S.-led war on terror, and called for international support for its campaign against Uyghur separatists, whom it has branded terrorists.

China says Uyghurs seeking an independent Islamic state have killed 162 people and injured 440 others.

Amnesty said there was also evidence that Beijing had increased pressure on other countries forcibly to return Uyghurs suspected of separatist or terrorist activities.

In a recorded testimony aired by RFA's Uyghur service after his execution in China, Uyghur independence activist Shirali detailed a litany of torture and abuse at the hands of Chinese prison guards and interrogators.

Shirali was accused of membership of ETIM, which was blacklisted by the United States and the United Nations as a terrorist organization after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Uyghurs constitute a distinct, Turkic-speaking, Muslim minority in northwestern China and Central Asia. They declared a short-lived East Turkestan Republic in Xinjiang in the late 1940s but have remained under Beijing's control since 1949.

According to a Chinese Government white paper, in 1998 Xinjiang comprised 8 million Uyghurs, 2.5 million other ethnic minorities, and 6.4 million Han Chinese-up from 300,000 Han in 1949. Most Uyghurs are poor farmers, and at least 25 percent are illiterate.

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