Four members of an organized group responsible for needle attacks in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, were sentenced to between eight and 15 years in prison yesterday.
The trial, held at the Municipal Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi, is the second involving the hypodermic needle attacks that had been happening in the city since mid-August. More than 500 civilians were injured in the series of attacks.
Abdulrusul Abdukhadi stabbed a woman surnamed Li in the neck in an underground passage at 10:30 am on Sept 3, with the help of three others identified as Ablimit Memet, Rehman Raziq and Abdulkeyum Ayup, according to the court.
The four Uygurs were captured at the scene of the attack. The incident is believed to have provoked a massive protest involving tens of thousands of people on the same day. People took to the streets to protest needle attacks in Urumqi and to demand security guarantees.
They were convicted of the crime of "spreading hyped toxic substances" by the court. All four suspects decided to appeal.
Abdulrusul Abdukhadi and Ablimit Memet were sentenced to 15 years in prison, Rehman Raziq 12 years and Abdulkeyum Ayup eight years. Abdukhadi and Memet were also deprived of political rights for five years and Raziq for three years.
Abdukhadi, Raziq and Ayup traveled from Kashgar to Urumqi on Aug 31 and started to plot needle attacks the next day with Memet, a business man who is also from Kashgar, the police said.