URUMQI: Six men who were convicted of murder and other crimes in the July 5 riot in Xinjiang were sentenced Monday to death after a first-instance trial, and another man was jailed for life.
Abdukerim Abduwayit, Gheni Yusup, Abdulla Mettohti, Adil Rozi, Nureli Wuxiu'er, and Alim Metyusup were sentenced to death at the Intermediate People's Court in Urumqi.
Tayirejan Abulimit was given life imprisonment, a lesser punishment as he confessed to crimes of murder and robbery and helped the police capture Alim Metyusup.
All seven men had been convicted of murder, and some of them were also convicted of arson or robbery.
The seven were the first to be sentenced over the riot, which left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Abdukerim Abduwayit killed five innocent people with dagger and pipe wrench during the riot. He also set fire to a downtown building, forcing 13 people to jump off the building to escape and causing an economic loss of more than 260,000 yuan (38,067 U.S. dollars).
In the second case, Gheni Yusup led Abdulla Mettohti, Adil Rozi and Nureli Wuxiu'er in beating four people to death and injuring another. They smashed and looted shops and vehicles.
Abdulla Mettohti and others also set a grain and oil shop ablaze, killing five people who were hiding inside and causing an economic loss of 1.37 million yuan.
In the third case, Alim Metyusup and Tayirejan Abulimit together killed three people and seriously injured one person. They also robbed the victims of their mobile phones.
Alim Metyusup together with other mobs killed another two people and set fire to houses, resulting in an economic loss of more than 50,000 yuan.
The public prosecutors presented testimonies of witnesses, autopsy reports and other evidences at the court, and played monitoring video of the scenes of crimes.
The defendants provided explanation against their charges and their lawyers defended at the court.
More than 400 people, including legislators, political advisors, family members of the defendants and victims, and journalists, observed the court hearings.
The court proceedings were done in the Uygur language along with simultaneous interpretation.