URUMQI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Five people were sentenced Thursday to death for murder and other crimes committed in the July 5 riot in Urumqi, capital of west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The defendants were Memeteli Islam, Mamattursun Elmu, Memeteli Abburakm, Kushiman Kurban and Helil Sadir.
Two others were sentenced at the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi to life imprisonment and another six were given jail terms.
Memeteli Islam was convicted of battering to death police officer Wan Jingang with a brick.
Mamattursun Elmu and Memeteli Abburakm were convicted of killing bystander Wang Zhenwu with a rock, before smashing the vanof Zou Yuqiang and killing Zou and a woman, Fan Silan, inside.
Mamattursun Elmu was also convicted of setting fire to a van and a grain shop, which resulted in the deaths of five people in the shop: Zhao Zhangshi, Zhang Liujun, Zhang Yu, Yu Xinli and Liu kunpeng.
Kushiman Kurban was convicted of smashing the windows of a tyre store with a rod and stabbing to death bystander Wang Ningning.
Helil Sadir was convicted of killing Wang Lei with a beer bottle. Another person involved in the beating, Abdulla Memet, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Another man jailed for life, Baret Turjun, was convicted of arson and involvement in beating to death bystander Zhang Qingliang.
The cases were heard in the Uygur language and interpretation was provided as hundreds of people, including relatives of the defendants and the victims, were present at the hearing.
Trials in five other cases connected with the riot will be heard by the court on Friday.
On Oct. 30, the Higher People's Court of Xinjiang upheld death sentences for nine people convicted of crimes committed during the riot.
"Innocent men were killed with cruel means. The death punishment is a just court order,"said Amet Barat, deputy attorney general of Toutunhe District procuratorate in Urumqi.
"The July 5 riot was the most severe violent and terrorist crime since the establish of New China in 1949. But the small amount of rioters should not affect the stability of Xinjiang and the solidarity of different ethnic groups," Amet Barat said.
His view was shared by middle school teacher Merdan Nebi. "My father, who is Han, and his colleagues, who are Hazaks, have just gathered at my home to celebrate the Muslim Corban Festival," Merdan Nebi said.
"We should cherish ethnic solidarity as our own eyes," Merdan Nebi said.
Special Report: Urumqi Riot