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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Xinjiang trials unjust: international rights group

October 18, 2009

Phayul
October 16, 2009

Dharamsala, October 16 - The trials of 21
defendants accused of participating in the July
2009 protests in Xinjiang did not meet minimum
international standards of due process and fair
trials, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

On October 12, the Urumqi Intermediate People's
Court sentenced six men to death and another to
life imprisonment. On October 14, another six men
were sentenced to death, three of them with a
two-year reprieve, while others were sentenced to
10 years of imprisonment. All the trials, the New
York based right group said, took place without
“prior public notification and were conducted in less than a day”.

"There is no doubt that serious criminal acts
were committed in July's unrest in Xinjiang, but
it serves neither justice nor stability for the
government to ignore minimum standards of due
process," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy
director at Human Rights Watch. "The lack of
transparency about how these trials were
conducted undermines confidence in the verdicts."

The protests of July this year in Urumqi ,
according to government figures, left 197 people
dead, 134 of them Han Chinese, and wounded some 1,600 people.

Human Rights Watch accused China of "serious
violations" of legal rights of the defendants. In
July this year, Judicial authorities in China had
warned lawyers against taking up cases related to
the riots in Urumqi, and issued orders to lawyers
against commenting on the trials, Human Rights
Watch argued. The Urumqi Intermediate People's
Court had violated China's own criminal procedure
law by not giving public notification of the
trials and failing to hold open, public trials, it added.

Human Rights Watch also expressed its concerns
about the fate of hundreds others still awaiting
trials in Chinese prisons since the violence in
Urumqi that was one of the worst ethnic unrest in decades.
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