Court rejects appeal of convicted Xinjiang terrorist

Updated: 2007-07-10 16:27

URUMQI -- A high court in northwest China on Tuesday rejected the appeal of Huseyin Celil, a China-born Uygur, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in April after being convicted of taking part in terrorist activities and plotting to split the country.

The High People's Court of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said the "facts were clear, evidence was reliable and adequate" when the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi meted out the sentence in the first trial.

In accordance with Chinese law, Celil, 37, will serve life in prison and be deprived of his political rights for life, according to the court.

Canada claims Celil, 37, was given Canadian citizenship in 2001, but China does not recognize it. He was arrested in Uzbekistan in 2006 and extradited to China soon after.

According to court documents, Celil joined the East Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO), a listed terrorist group active in central Asia, in November 1997 and was appointed a senior instructor in Kyrgyzstan.

While there, he allegedly recruited people to the ETLO and sent them to terrorist training camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the documents said.

Celil was also active in another listed terrorist organization, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), for which he helped raise funds, recruit members and organize training, the documents said.

The documents said in 1997, Celil met ETIM's former head Hasan Mahsum, who was shot dead by the Pakistan army in 2003, and worked directly under Mahsum's command.

Celil was a key member pushing for the alliance of the ETIM and ETLO in 1998, the documents said.

Both groups were included in China's first list of four identified "East Turkistan" terrorist organizations, published by the Ministry of Public Security in December 2003.

The authorities claim "East Turkistan" terrorists have close links with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and have been responsible for a series of murders, bombs, hijackings and arson in Xinjiang.

The documents said Huseyin Celil, with the intention of overthrowing the Chinese government and the socialist system, in 1997 provided 80,000 yuan (US$10,256) for the establishment of a new terrorist group, named "Hizbollah", in southern Guangdong Province.

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