Nation

Riot woman sentenced to death for killing

By Cui Jia (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-05 07:13

URUMQI: A woman was sentenced to death on Friday for crimes committed during the deadly July 5 riots that left 197 dead and more than 1,700 injured.

Thirty-year-old Heyrinisa Sawut of Kashgar is the only female to face trial so far for involvement in the riot.

Two other defendants were also convicted and sentenced to death on Friday.

Another rioter was sentenced to life in prison while three others were given jail terms ranging from 10 to 18 years.

The latest group of trials - comprising 20 defendants being tried for a range of offences including murder, arson, robbery and malicious injury - was the second round of hearings connected to July's unrest in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

So far, all defendants have been convicted.

During the first two rounds of trials, 41 people have been convicted. Seventeen have been sentenced to death. Nine of the 17 have already been executed.

Sawut, a mother of four, was sentenced to death for intentional murder and malicious injury at the Urumqi Intermediate Court where seven defendants stood trial on Friday.

She was accused of killing one person and injuring three others on July 5.

One of her victims has been in a vegetative state since the attack because of severe head injuries.

Sawut denied the charges and insisted she had been at home during the riot.

But she could not prove that was the case and two of her victims picked her out during an identity parade.

Video footage of Sawut repeatedly beating victims with a wooden stick and throwing bricks were also shown in court as evidence.

While the video was shown, some in the court were visibly shocked and moved.

In another case, Li Longfei was sentenced to death for murder after he was found guilty of beating three people to death on July 7. Two of the victims were Uygurs and the other person remains unidentified.

Li was accused along with Pei Guofeng, who was given life imprisonment. Pei received the lesser term because his confession helped in the investigation.

Ruzikhari Niyaz was also sentenced to death after he was found guilty of brutally killing two men with a pickaxe.

Mohtar Rehman received 18 years in prison for torching a police vehicle with a self-made incendiary bomb.

Most of the victims of the July 5 riots were ethnic Han Chinese and most of the rioters were Uygurs armed with batons and bricks.

Two days after the initial riot, Han Chinese took to the streets and were engaged in violent protest against rioters.

Police have so far asked the procuratorate to approve the arrests of 575 suspects thought to have been involved in 366 cases. Of the 575 requests, 430 have been granted, the local authority announced earlier.

(China Daily 12/05/2009 page3)