Agence France Presse

Date: 1/12/2001


China Smashes Islamic Militant Group, Amid Report of Executions

Beijing, Jan 12, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) China has smashed an armed Islamic group responsible for a wave of terrorist attacks in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, state media said Friday.

Meanwhile, in a separate report Amnesty International said China had executed two men accused of terrorist offenses in Xinjiang after "grossly unfair judicial proceedings based on confessions extracted through torture".

The People's Court Daily said a "group of separatists" had been tried at a court in the town Korla in Xinjiang recently and their leader Alerken Abula had been sentenced to death.

The paper said Abula set up a group in 1993 that came to be known as the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Party of God and which had recruited 113 members across Xinjiang.

The report said the group bought explosives and weapons, as well as a printing press, and was responsible for "a large number of terrorist actions." It did not give details.

It said the group's aim was to set up an Islamic state in Xinjiang, a majority Muslim region, and that a hit list of 32 mosque officials with allegiance to the government in Beijing had been uncovered.

The report said Abula and an unspecified number of accomplices had been arrested and had later admitted their guilt in police interrogation.

Xinjiang separatists -- mainly ethnic Uighur Muslims -- have been involved in frequent and bloody clashes with the Chinese authorities in recent years.

Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language and make up a large part of Xinjiang's population, have been linked to deadly bombings as well as riots, most notably clashes in January 1997 in the frontier town of Yining, which according to independent sources left as many as 100 dead.

The Chinese authorities have launched a major crackdown on separatism in Xinjiang since the riots, recruiting the help of neighboring central Asian republics, and announcing scores of executions.

Amnesty said the latest executions were carried out on Tuesday in Yining.

The international rights watchdog said Jur'at Nuri, 27, and Abduhalik Abdureshit, 24, had been sentenced to death in July 1999 on charges of "splittism" and "illegally carrying and keeping arms, ammunition and explosives."

"Official documentation received by Amnesty International shows that the accusations against the men were largely unfounded, and that the sentences were passed after grossly unfair judicial proceedings, based on confessions extracted under torture," the group said in a statement.

"At the trial Abduhalik Abdureshit is reported to have said that anybody who had been tortured as severely as he had would have confessed to anything, and that not even a dog could tolerate the torture he had endured."

Amnesty said relatives of the two men, who had been given no information about their fate for a year, had been allowed to see them briefly before they were executed.

It said the pair were among 11 people detained in April 1998 in Yining after six Uighur youths were killed in a clash with the security forces.

Court officials in Yining denied any executions had taken place or even that the two men had been in custody.

Tensions between the majority Muslim population, most of them Uighurs, and the ruling Han Chinese government have long plagued Xinjiang. Tensions increased in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

China also keeps a tight rein on the practice of Islam in the country, as it does with all religions, demanding devotees worship in state-controlled mosques presided over by state-approved imams.

============================ Is there a "Government" of India anywhere, to take a course in self preservation from the Chinese? NO. There isn't any to be seen. Perhaps the gentlemen are having a nap underground since Lahore has gone and Srinagar is on fire. ============