The crimes were the focus of the region’s special operation to crack down on terrorism

Beijing : China’s fast-track courts on Thursday sentenced 81 people, including 12 to death, and arrested 29 others in the restive Xinjiang province for terrorism-related crimes as part of a nationwide crackdown on Islamist militants blamed for a spate of recent attacks.

 While nine militants were sentenced to death, three others received death penalty with a two-year reprieve, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, according to PTI.

Besides the death penalties, local courts in six cities in Xinjiang convicted 69 others in 23 terrorism-related cases and pronounced sentences ranging from life imprisonment to fixed-term imprisonment, a regional higher people’s court said.

They were convicted for committing crimes of organising, leading or participating in terrorist organisation, intentional homicide, arson or illegal manufacture, storage and transportation of explosives. A number of them were also sentenced for making and spreading audio or video on terrorism, inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination, or teaching criminal methods, the report said. The crimes were the focus of the region’s special operation to crack down on terrorism, said the regional higher people’s court.

China blames the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Al-Qaeda linked outfit, to the attacks in Xinjiang and in rest of China. The ETIM, listed as terrorist group by UN, is fighting for the independence of Xinjiang, where native Muslim Uygurs deeply resent the increasing settlements of majority Hans from other provinces. Xinjiang witnessed a spate of violent attacks.

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