Chinese media on Friday issued details on the more than 80 people that were sentenced on charges related to terrorism. Nine of the people were given death sentences. State media said the bulk of the defendants were members of terrorist groups and had committed murder as well as other violent forms of crime.
The sentences handed down on Thursday came amidst a huge crackdown in Xinjiang, a region in the west following four very high profile attacks against civilians since the latter part of October that has given Xi Jinping the President a big security challenge during his one year and three months in office.
The attacks were blamed on groups of extremists from the Uighurs, who are Turkic-speaking natives in the Xinjiang region seeking to overthrow the rule of the government and are inspired by the global ideology of jihadi.
Since the bombing in a market that took the lives of 43 people May 22, officials issued a number of announcements that cited over 300 arrests with many prosecutions that followed in rapid fashion resulting in tough sentences that included death, which raised concerns amongst many advocates of human rights that prosecutors might be trampling over certain legal rights.
Television in Xinjiang said that 68 of the defendants were charged with organizing participating or leading a terrorist group, as well as assault, arson, murder and manufacturing or transporting firearms and explosives.
Thirteen others had been charged with crimes including distributing materials that promoted ethnic hate and discrimination.
Footage depicted the accused in court standing before officials and wearing prison uniforms, with their hands in shackles and their heads pressed forward and downwards by the officers standing with them. Some defendants had hoods over their heads when leaving the court.
Authorities said they have broken up more than 23 extremist organizations including one of five people that were plotting another attack with bombs.
Last week, law enforcement said that 55 people accused of terrorism along with other types of crimes had been sentenced inside a stadium of which at least one was a death sentence.
In additional 81 people received sentences at six other courts across Xinjiang, including nine who were given the death sentence.