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September 18, 2009

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Jail terms in needle attack

FOUR people were given hefty sentences ranging from 8 to 15 years in prison yesterday for stabbing a pedestrian with a syringe in Urumqi, triggering a public scare and causing protests in the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Defendant Abdulrusul Abdukhadi stabbed a woman surnamed Li in the neck in an underground passage at 10:30am on September 3 with the help of three others, identified as Ablimit Memet, Rehman Raziq and Abdulkeyum Ayup, according to the Municipal Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi.

The four were captured at the scene of the attack, police said.

Abdulrusul Abdukhadi and Ablimit Memet were sentenced to 15 years in prison, Rehman Raziq to 12 years, and Abdulkeyum Ayup was handed an eight-year term.

Abdulrusul Abdukhadi and Ablimit Memet were also deprived of political rights for five years and Rehman Raziq for three years.

The court handed down the sentences five days after it meted out judgments of 7 to 15 years in jail to three people over syringe attacks last Saturday.

Hundreds of attacks have been reported in Xinjiang. Instruments used in the assaults have also reportedly included safety pins and even toothpicks. No serious injuries have been reported.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu has called the attacks an organized terror plot orchestrated by the same Uygur separatists blamed for July violence in Urumqi that killed nearly 200 people.

Prosecutors said the original four put on trial on Saturday included three drug addicts and that at least one attack was a robbery. All of the suspects were Uygurs, while victims of the attacks were mainly Han.


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