[JURIST] A court in China sentenced six individuals to death on Thursday for their part in the July riots in Urumqi [JURIST news archive], capital of China's Xinjiang province. The convictions stemmed from assaults that resulted in the deaths of at least four people and damage to property estimated at over 1.6 million yuan. In addition to the six individuals sentenced to death, three were also sentenced to life in prison [Xinhua report], and the court stripped them of their political rights. With these convictions, 12 people have now been sentenced to death, and nearly 100 still await trial.
Earlier this week, six other individuals were sentenced to death [JURIST report], and one more was sentenced to life in prison, for their roles in the riots between Han Chinese and Uighur residents that claimed the lives of approximately 200 people. Residents of the region claim that the majority of the deaths were at the hands of Chinese authorities, but Chinese state media [Xinhua report] has reported that most of the deaths were due to protesters. For their part, the Chinese government has admitted that police were responsible for 12 of the deaths [JURIST report]. The Muslim Uighur population is opposed [BBC backgrounder] to China's restrictive bans on religious practice and says that the recent influx of Han Chinese has disenfranchised non-Chinese-speaking Uighurs.