China sentences two Uighur former officials to death for 'separatism' in Xinjiang

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 07, 2021, 08.54 AM(IST)

A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colours of the flag of East Turkestan takes part in a protest by supporters of the Uighur minority on April 1, 2021 at beyazid square in Istanbul. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

China is currently facing global pressure to exhibit more accountability in its treatment of Muslim Uighurs in the region, which the United States has referred to as “genocide”

Two Uighur former government officials in China’s Xinjiang region have been sentenced to death for undertaking “separatist activities”, AFP cited a court as saying.

China is currently facing global pressure to exhibit more accountability in its treatment of Muslim Uighurs in the region, which the United States has referred to as “genocide”, with several claims of human rights abuses.

Shirzat Bawudun, a former chief of the Xinjiang department of justice has been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of “splitting the country”, as per a statement on the Xinjiang website.

According to Wang Langtao, the vice president of the Xinjiang Higher People’s Court, Bawudun conspired with a terrorist organisation, took bribes, and also carried out separatist activities.

Also read: US human rights report lambasts China over Uighur atrocities

Bawudun was held guilty for colluding with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which the UN has listed as a “terrorist” organisation. According to Xinhua, he had met a key member the group in 2003. Last year, the US removed the terror group from its list, claiming that there was not enough evidence.

Sattar Sawut, the former director of the Xinjiang education department has also been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. He was found guilty of separatism and accepting bribes.

Also read: Cyber spies in China targetted Uighurs, Facebook says

Sawut was held guilty for including separatism, terrorism, and religious extremism into textbooks written in the Uighur language.

Rights groups have accused China of keeping at least one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps across Xinjiang, which China refers to as “vocational centres”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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