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China sentences 113 on ‘terrorism’ charges

Courts in China’s far-flung western region of Xinjiang have sentenced 113 people to jail terms ranging from 10 years to life on mostly “terrorism”-related charges, state media say.

The sentences came a week after Beijing announced that it arrested 380 people and dismantled 32 “terror cells” in a month-long crackdown on “terrorism” in Xinjiang, the home of the Muslim Uighurs.

Xinjiang’s government web portal Tianshan said the courts found the suspects guilty for crimes ranging from “organizing and leading terrorist groups” to “bigamy and drug dealing.” Four suspects were sentenced to life in prison, it said.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the overseas-based World Uyghur Congress, denounced the verdicts.

“Announcing verdicts in public places tramples on the rights of the accused and will only lead to more protest and extreme forms of resistance,” he said.

China launched a crackdown on violence after a spate of bloody incidents in the country.

Last month, gunmen killed 39 people in an attack on a market in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi. Police blamed Muslim groups in Xinjiang for the attack, but they denied the accusations.

Beijing has pledged that “terrorists and extremists will be hunted down and punished” as part of a year-long campaign, which also targets “gun and explosive manufacturing dens and terrorist training camps.”

Last year, around 200 people lost their lives in violence in Xinjiang.

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