Death sentences upheld in China terrorist attack case

 A Chinese court Friday upheld the death sentences of three men implicated in a terrorist attack that killed 31 people at a railway station in Kunming, the capital city of southwest China`s Yunnan Province, earlier this year.

IANS| Last Updated: Oct 31, 2014, 17:48 PM IST

Beijing: A Chinese court Friday upheld the death sentences of three men implicated in a terrorist attack that killed 31 people at a railway station in Kunming, the capital city of southwest China`s Yunnan Province, earlier this year.

Iskandar Ehet, Turgun Tohtunyaz and Hasayn Muhammad were sentenced to death Sep 12 for leading a terrorist organisation and for intentional homicide, Xinhua reported.

Investigators found that the three men had been training recruits for terrorist activities, including the attack at Kunming railway station, since December 2013.

All three men were arrested for allegedly planning to illegally cross the Chinese border Feb 27, just days ahead of the attack.

After failing to establish contact with Iskandar, five members of the group carried out the attack as originally planned March 1.

Four were shot dead at the scene by the police while Patigul Tohti, weakened by a bullet wound, was captured. Thirty one people died and 141 sustained injuries.

Patigul was sentenced to life imprisonment for participating in the attack as well as intentional homicide during the first trial. The court ruled that although her criminal acts were extreme, as she was pregnant at the time of the arrest she would be handed a life sentence.

The Yunnan Higher People`s Court rejected Muhammad`s appeal Friday and upheld the sentence pronounced by the Kunming Municipal Intermediate People`s Court last month.

The higher court affirmed the facts and evidence of the first trial and declared the judgment and sentencing appropriate.

The higher court ruled that all three suspects were guilty of organising, leading and plotting the violent terrorist attack and they should take responsibility for all the crimes committed and organised by their terrorist cell.

According to the original verdict, Iskandar and Muhammad recruited people for terror cells, while Tohtunyaz was a financier of terrorist activities.

Muhammad tried to appeal to the court that he had not acted alone, meaning his crime did not constitute intentional homicide. The court ruled that his appeal did not stand because it was not in line with the facts and legal provisions.

More than 300 people attended Friday`s trial, including lawmakers, political advisors and journalists. The court also supplied translators so the defendants could communicate in their native tongue during the trial.