URUMQI, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- A court in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday sentenced two men to death and another three to prison for taking part in a violent attack that happened on April 23.
Musa Hesen was sentenced to death for murder, organizing and leading a terrorist group and illegally manufacturing explosives, according to a verdict handed down by the Intermediate People's Court in Kashgar Prefecture.
Rehman Hupur was also sentenced to death for murder and participating in the terrorist group, according to the verdict.
Another three people who participated in the terrorist group were given prison sentences ranging from nine years to life, according to the verdict.
All of the defendants confessed to their crimes in court.
According to the court's statement, the five defendants, along with Qasim Muhammat, have been carrying out illegal religious activities, promoting religious extremism and regularly watching video clips that advocate terrorism since March 2008.
They printed books on religious extremism and terrorism, completed physical training, practiced lethal skills and made knives and banners in preparation for terrorist attacks. They also made ten explosive devices and carried out explosive tests, the statement said.
According to the statement, Qasim Muhammat and Musa Hesen set up a terrorist group on March 8, 2013, with Qasim Muhammat as the leader. The other four defendants were all group members.
On April 23, a confrontation between terrorists and authorities in Kashgar's Bachu County left 21 people dead, including 15 community workers and police officers, as well as six suspects, according to local authorities.
Three community workers discovered knives and suspicious individuals in the home of a local resident on the day of the incident. They reported the situation to their supervisors via phone, but were seized by the suspects, who had been hiding in the house.
Police officers and township community officials then rushed to the scene, but were attacked by the suspects, who killed the three community workers they had seized earlier and locked nine officers and officials in a room before setting the home on fire.
The suspects continued to attack other police officers, killing four of them. Police returned fire before bringing the situation under control.
Eight suspects were captured at the scene, while eleven others were captured later.