Home / Understanding big issues

Repentant convicts in Xinjiang get sentence reductions

By CUI JIA (China Daily)

Updated: 2016-03-08 08:34:23


Xinjiang's High People's Court plans to continue to reduce the sentences of those convicted of terror-related crimes and of jeopardizing national security where such reductions are in line with the law and those convicted demonstrate repentance and a determination to change, the president of the court said.

Mutalif Wubili, who is also a National People's Congress deputy, commented from the sidelines of the annual session of the NPC.

His remarks followed the decision in February by the court in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to reduce the sentences of 11 offenders who had been convicted of jeopardizing national security and terrorist-related crimes.

Those receiving reduced sentences included a prisoner who had been in close contact with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and the Taliban terrorist group.

Seven of the 11 serious offenders had sentences reduced from life terms to between 19 1/2 and 20 years. The other four prisoners, serving sentences of eight, 13 and 15 years, had their sentences shortened by six months.

Mutalif said the reductions came in response to genuine change in the prisoners.

"Many people have wondered whether the 11 convicts just pretended to be changed people just to get a reduction in their sentences but the court found that they had truly acknowledged their crimes and had shown good attitudes in wanting to mend their ways while in prison, so the court decided to reduce their sentences after careful evaluation," he said.

Mutalif said it was not a one-off situation and that the court would continue to reduce sentences when appropriate.

"We want the convicts and their families to see there is hope," he said.

Prisons around Xinjiang have been inviting respected religious leaders to give lectures about Islam to those who were convicted of terror-related crimes and who were influenced by religious extremism.

"This has proved to be very effective and many people have realized that what they used to believe in is not the real Islam," Mutalif said.

Courts in Xinjiang have handled an increasing number of terrorism-related cases since the region cracked down on terrorist activities in May, 2014. China's first anti-terrorism law, which took effect on Jan 1 this year, will also help the courts deal with terrorist-related cases consistently, he added.