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August 5, 2009

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83 arrested for Urumqi unrest

POLICE have formally arrested 83 people on charges including murder and arson in connection with last month's deadly rioting in northwestern China's Xinjiang region.

The arrests mark the first step in prosecuting those involved in the July 5 riot, which left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Prosecutor Utiku'er Abudrehman told a press conference in Urumqi yesterday that those arrested will face charges including murder, intentional injury, arson and robbery.

At the same news conference, Urumqi City police chief Chen Zhuangwei said that 718 people had been detained on suspicion of involvement in the deadly riot.

Chen, head of Urumqi's Public Security Department, said collecting evidence had put heavy pressure on the city's police force.

It involved examinations at the crime scenes and DNA evaluations, but it was carried out swiftly.

Chen said police visited more than 1,000 people, including those injured in the rioting and families who lost members in the July 5 unrest. Police also inspected 530 shops and 943 motor vehicles damaged during the violence. They collected and examined 3,318 pieces of evidence, and obtained 2,169 photos and 91 video clips of crime scenes.


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