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China executes two Uighur Muslims for alleged terror links

[JURIST] China executed two members of the Chinese Uighur Muslim [JURIST news archive] ethnic minority last week, according to a report from US-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA) [media website]. According to the report [RFA report], the two Uighurs, Mukhtar Setiwalki and Abduweli Imin, were executed after a public announcement of their death sentences on July 9 in China's Xinjiang region. Two other Uighurs were given suspended death sentences, and another thirteen were given jail terms ranging from ten years to life imprisonment. The seventeen Uighurs were alleged to be members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], a militant group calling for separation from China, and which was designated as a terrorist group by the US government in 2002 for alleged links to al-Qaeda. The US has refused to release a number of Uighur detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] because of fears that they would be executed after their repatriation to China. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

One of the Uighurs detained by the US, Huzaifa Parhat [JURIST news archive], was designated an enemy combatant by a US Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials] and later challenged his detention in federal court. In June, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ordered the US government to release Parhat [JURIST report], ruling that he had been improperly designated as an enemy combatant. In 2006, five Chinese Uighur detainees were released to Albania [JURIST report], where officials reviewed applications for asylum. The transfer, which was criticized by China, ended a court challenge against the detainees' indefinite detention [JURIST reports]. In December 2006, lawyers for seven Uighur detainees filed a lawsuit [JURIST report], arguing that the process by which they were determined to be enemy combatants was flawed.

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