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Chinese court sentences syringe attacker to 15 years in jail


Latest update : 2009-09-12

A 19 year-old has been jailed for 15 years in the first legal action to be taken over a series of syringe attacks that have blighted China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang region. Police in the city have received reports of more than 500 such attacks.

AFP - A teenager has been jailed for 15 years in Urumqi in the first legal action to be taken over a series of syringe attacks in China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, state television reported Saturday.

Yilipan Yilihamu, a 19-year-old student was found guilty by a court in the city of using a "dangerous substance" for an attack, CCTV said.

The report did not give the ethnicity of the convicted man, but his name is Uighur, the dominant ethnic group in the restive northwest region.

A series of attacks with syringes across the troubled region, blamed on Uighur separatists, sparked violent protests by members of China's dominant Han ethnic grouping.

Five people died in the unrest earlier this month, which followed disturbances in July that claimed nearly 200 lives, according to official figures, most of them Han Chinese.

CCTV reported that Yilipan Yilihamu was convicted of stabbing a woman in the street on August 28. It added that he intended to appeal against the verdict.

Two other people were also tried by the court in Urumqi on Saturday, but CCTV did not give the verdicts in their cases.

Mututaerjiang Tuerdi, a 34-year-old man and Aimannisha Guli, a 22-year-old woman were charged with an attack on a taxi driver in which they allegedly threatened him with a syringe before stealing 710 yuan (104 dollars).

The charges against the three are the first to be brought since allegations of syringe attacks surfaced in Urumqi.

Police in the city have received reports of more than 500 attacks. However, most of the syringes did not contain anything dangerous, they said.

On Friday, the China Daily reported that attacks had also taken place in other cities in Xinjiang.

Tensions have been high in the autonomous region for several months, with Beijing blaming Uighur separatists it says are led by World Uighur Congress leader Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in exile in the United States.

Date created : 2009-09-12