January 26, 2010 / 10:48 AM / 10 years ago

CORRECTED-China sentences four more to death for Urumqi riot

(Corrects sentences of eight other defendants in paragraph 4)

BEIJING, Jan 26 (Reuters) - A Chinese court sentenced four more people to death for their part in bloody ethnic rioting in July last year in Urumqi, the capital of far western Xinjiang region, state media reported on Tuesday.

The new trial brings the number of death sentences for the rioting to at least 26, of which at least nine have already been carried out.

Judging from the names, the four sentenced to death are all Uighurs, a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people native to Xinjiang. Many Uighurs resent an influx of Han Chinese that has left them accounting for only half the population of their homeland.

Another defendant received the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, which is usually commuted to life in prison, the Xinhua News Agency said on its website (www.xinhuanet.com.cn). Seven others received life sentences or other jail terms.

Uighurs attacked Han Chinese in Urumqi on July 5 last year after protests against Han attacks on Uighur workers in South China a few weeks earlier.

Han launched revenge attacks two days later.

At least 197 people died in the riots, mostly Han Chinese who form the majority of the Chinese population.

(Reporting by Yu Le and Lucy Hornby; Editing by Paul Tait)





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