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China official confirms execution of Tibetan demonstrators

[JURIST] A Chinese Foreign Ministry [official website, in Chinese] spokesperson announced Tuesday that the two Tibetan prisoners sentenced to death [JURIST report] for their role in the March 2008 Lhasa riots [advocacy backgrounder; JURIST news archive] have been executed. The Chinese government confirmed the executions [AP report] after Tibetan rights groups first broke the news, but did not release any additional details. The two Tibetans were sentenced to death in April after being convicted of starting separate fires that resulted in deaths. Tibetan courts convicted 76 others [JURIST reports] of demonstration-related crimes in February. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in March that hundreds of other protesters who were detained during the Lhasa demonstrations had not been accounted for one year later [JURIST report].

China also recently sentenced nine people to death for alleged crimes that occurred during the July Xinjiang riots [JURIST news archive] in trials that were criticized by HRW [JURIST report]. HRW alleged that China violated national and international law in those trials by intimidating lawyers, employing biased judges, and closing proceedings to the press. The Xinjiang riots resulted in at least 12 deaths caused by police [JURIST report] and several other deaths.

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