On 20 March, according to official sources, 15 people were arrested as a result of riots which occurred during February 1997 in Yining, Xinjiang region. Six of these have been tried on charges of “hooliganism” and “endangering public order”, crimes which can carry the death penalty. The six have not been named, but they are said to be from the Uighur ethnic minority. A further nine people are also said to have been arrested for alleged involvement in bombings which took place in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, on 25 February. The nine reportedly include one ethnic Han Chinese and eight Uighurs. No trial date has yet been announced. Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to refrain from using the death penalty against anybody tried in connection with recent ethnic unrest in the Xinjiang region and to disclose the names of all those detained.
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