URUMQI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Three Uygurs were given
hefty sentences ranging from 7 to 15 years in jail Saturday over syringe
stabbings or threatening to use needle attacks for robbery, which triggered
public scare in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Court hearings on two cases involving two men and a
woman began at about 10 a.m. at the Municipal Intermediate People's Court of
Urumqi and ended at about 1 p.m..
They were the first court hearings of this kind since
hundreds of civilians were injured in a series of hypodermic needle attacks from
The court sentenced Yilipan Yilihamu, 19, to 15 years
in prison for "attacking with hyped toxic substances" as he was convicted of
injecting a hypodermic needle into a woman's buttock on Aug. 28, Shi Xinli,
president of the court, told a press conference soon after the court hearing.
The young Uygur was captured hours after the victim
reported to police that she was stabbed at a roadside fruit stall.
"His action violated the Criminal Law, caused public
panic and led to grave consequences. He deserved the penalty," said Chen Jing, a
professor with the Law School of Xinjiang University.
In a separate trial in the same court, Muhutaerjiang
Turdi, a 34-year-old man, and Aimannisha Guli, a 22-year-old woman, were
sentenced to 10 years in jail with a fine of 5,000 yuan (732 U.S. dollars) and
seven years in prison with a fine of 3,000 yuan, respectively, for robbing a
taxi driver on Aug. 29, Shi said.
The two drug addicts jointly threatened a taxi driver
with a syringe and robbed him of 710 yuan for buying drugs. The woman was
captured on the same day of the robbery and the man surrendered t police three
The court also found that the man was given a 14-year
jail term for robbery in 2001 and was set free in September last year. The woman
was sentenced to one year in prison in January 2007 for theft and was released
in October in the same year.
More than 200 people, including family members of the
defendants and victims and reporters, were present at the court hearings
Saturday, which proceeded in Uygur language according to the defendants' wish
with simultaneous interpretation in mandarin.
"The court verdicts were very accurate," said Xu
Chun, a lawyer with the Gonglian Law Offices based in Urumqi.
The trials strictly punished crimes and alleviated
people's scare, and would contribute to the recovery of the social order, Xu
"The defendants did not hire defense lawyers
themselves so the court appointed some for them to protect their rights and
interests," he added.
"The court made a fair judgment and I think Urumqi
people will feel satisfied with it," said Li Yuying, a saleswoman in the city.
She expressed the belief that the government is
capable of maintaining social stability and protecting people's security. She
called on the authorities to launch quick actions against any possible security
threats in the future.
"Only harsh punishment of criminals according to law
and return of a safe living environment could heal people's psychological
trauma," said Shi Shuhong, a teacher with the No. 35 Primary School of Urumqi.
"In the view of Muslims, the word Muslim means
solidarity and stability. A devoted Muslim must love both his country and his
religion, and contribute to the national prosperity, to people's health and
welfare," said Ma Wenxu, an imam with the Luyuanjie Mosque in the city.
"The court hearings and the judgments were timely and
correct, I fully support and welcome them," he said.
"The trials showed the government's determination to
crack down upon crimes and to bust any attempts to sabotage social stability,
which will help appease public indignation," said Huang Xuanqian, manager of the
Urumqi-based Xinle Investment Co. Ltd.
"There was no exodus of business people amid the
needle attacks despite plummeting sales. We're always confident of Xinjiang's
development prospect," he said.
Hundreds of people have been stabbed by hypodermic
syringes or needles in Urumqi, triggering public angst and wrath.
Tens of thousands of residents took to the streets
early this month, demanding security guarantees. Five people died and at least
14 were hospitalized for injuries during the protests.
No death nor any cases which need anti-virus drugs
have been reported.
The city's public security authorities announced last
week that police had caught 45 suspects amid the syringe scare, of whom 12 were
in police custody.
Syringe attackers may face harsh punishment in
accordance with the law, including life imprisonment and even death penalty if
convicted of causing grave consequence, the city's judicial and police
authorities have said.
(Writing by Zhao Ying in Beijing, Reporting by Zhang
Hongchi, Cao Zhiheng, Huang Yan in Urumqi)