6 sentenced to death for riots in Xinjiang province

BEIJING:China sentenced six people

to death today over deadly July riots in its restive Xinjiang region, state media reported, delivering on a vow of harsh retribution over the ethnic unrest.

The six were convicted of murder and other crimes by a court in the regional capital Urumqi in the first trials over the riots that killed nearly 200 people and left the city riven by ethnic tension.

China Central Television (CCTV) said one other defendant was sentenced to life in prison over the unrest, in which members of the Uighur minority

went on a rampage in attacks

directed at members of

China’s dominant Han ethnic group. Xinhua news agency said the seven, all men, were convicted in three separate cases. It identified them by names that appeared to be Uighur.

Television footage showed the defendants with their heads shaved and wearing orange and blue vests lined up or seated before the court tribunals with most of the convicted appearing to be in their twenties and thirties.

Authorities had tightened up security ahead of the trials, state media reported, apparently fearing the verdicts could touch off further violence.

China National Radio said up to 14,000 security forces were deployed in the city yesterday to begin 24-hour patrols.