URUMQI: Three people who were given death sentences for their crimes in the July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, will not appeal the rulings.
Eight of 21 defendants tried in court for their violence in the deadly riots, which left 197 dead and more than 1,700 injured, will not appeal sentences handed out by the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi, said Shi Lixin, the court's president.
The 21 defendants, the first batch of rioters to be tried, were convicted two weeks ago. Twelve were given death sentences, including some with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in prison. The others were sentenced to life in prison and five to lesser prison terms.
Shi didn't say whether the remaining 13 defendants have decided to appeal and when their potential appeal hearings will begin.
All defendants have the right to appeal but the verdicts handed down after the second trials will be deemed final, according to Chinese law.
"Seven of the 21 defendants have asked the relatives of the victims for forgiveness," Shi added.
Abdukerim Abduwayit, the first person sentenced in connection with the July 5 riots, was found guilty of stabbing five people to death. He received the death penalty for intentional homicide and decided not to appeal.
The court gave Tayirejan Abulimit life imprisonment after he admitted to committing homicide and robbery. The court also acknowledged that he helped police capture Alim Metyusup, who received the death sentence for intentional homicide.
"Abulimit was not given the death sentence because his confession aided the investigation. This will let suspects learn that cooperating with the authority is the only way to earn them a second chance," Shi said.
Liu Bo, the city's deputy chief procurator, said earlier that accusations have been brought against 108 suspects allegedly involved in the riots, which means at least 87 suspects are still pending trial.
"The police and procuratorate have worked hard to collect solid and legitimate evidence against each suspect allegedly involved in criminal activities in the riots," Liu said.
Liu added that the process of beginning public trials of the suspects is time-consuming for the police force and procuratorate due to the large number of suspects and the hefty amount of evidence involved.
"Only 21 riot suspects have been tried so far, and it is not enough to comfort Urumqi residents plagued by the riots," said a 42-year-old local bus driver surnamed Liu. "They (the authorities) should speed up the prosecution of those criminals."
Shi didn't say when the next group of riot suspects would be tried.
(China Daily 10/27/2009 page2)