- China sentences 55 in mass trial at Xinjiang stadium
- Cambodia jails three foreigners for smuggling heroin
- Bangladesh ready to work with new Indian PM Modi
Posted: 27 May 2014 11:11 PM PDT
BEIJING: Authorities in China's mainly Muslim Xinjiang mounted a mass sentencing in a stadium for 55 people on offences including terrorism, state media said Wednesday, as they press a crackdown on escalating violence.About 7,000 people and Communist Party officials in Ili prefecture attended the "mass gathering for public sentencing, public arrests and public criminal detention, punishing a group of violent terrorist criminals in accordance with the law", said an online report by the official news agency Xinhua.
Judicial officials at the stadium issued punishments for crimes including murder, separatism and organising, leading or participating in a terrorist group, harbouring criminals and rape.
Three were sentenced to death for using hatchets and other weapons to murder a family of four last year "using extremely cruel methods", the report said.
At the stadium, police also announced the formal arrests of 38 suspects and detained another 27.
Photos showed armed officers guarding the premises, and the accused crammed into backs of lorries wearing orange vests and bent forward as helmeted security forces stood over them.
The event was intended to demonstrate authorities' "resolute determination crack down on the 'three forces' of violent terrorism", Ili's deputy party chief was cited as saying, referring to separatism, extremism and terrorism.
China used mass trials in the 1980s and 90s to try to combat the rise in crime driven by the social upheavals that accompanied the country's dramatic Reform and Opening economic overhaul, but the practice later faded.
Beijing at the weekend vowed a year-long crackdown on terrorism following a string of attacks blamed on militants from Xinjiang, home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority, with violence in recent months increasingly targeting civilians and spreading elsewhere in China.
Last week five suspects killed 39 people and wounded more than 90 at a market in the regional capital Urumqi.
On April 30, the final day of a visit by President Xi Jinping to the region, attackers killed one person and wounded 79 at an Urumqi railway station.
In March knifemen killed 29 people and wounded 143 at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming, an incident dubbed "China's 9/11" by state media.
Beijing says it faces a violent separatist movement driven by religious extremism and backed by overseas terrorist organisations.
But experts question how organised the groups in Xinjiang are, while rights groups point to cultural repression of Uighurs and economic favouritism towards an influx of the ethnic majority Han into the resource-rich region.
Dilshat Rexit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said in a statement: "The judiciary has become a means of assisting China's crackdown against Uighurs.
"China's provocations will spur even more despairing Uighurs to fiercer resistance." - AFP
Posted: 27 May 2014 11:06 PM PDT
PHNOM PENH: A Cambodian court sentenced three foreigners from Australia, France and Nigeria to between 23 and 27 years in prison on Wednesday for attempted heroin smuggling.Australian woman Yoshe Ann Taylor, 41, and French woman Charlene Savarino, 19, were arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport with 2.2 kilos (4.8 pounds) of heroin in a backpack in September last year.
Precious Chineme Nwoko, 23, from Nigeria was arrested the same month at his rental home in the capital.
Savarino was sentenced to 25 years in jail, while Taylor was handed 23 years and Nwoko received a 27-year jail term.
They declined to comment when asked about the court ruling.
Two other Nigerian men, who remain at large, were sentenced in their absence to 27 years in jail each for their involvement in the case.
During their trial last month, the two women said the backpack belonged to Savarino's boyfriend Nwoko and that he was sending it to an unidentified man in Australia.
Cambodia has become a popular smuggling route for narcotics, particularly methamphetamines and heroin, since neighbouring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in 2002.
Cambodia has ramped up its war on drugs in recent years, resulting in hundreds of arrests, some involving senior officials.- AFP
Posted: 27 May 2014 10:52 PM PDT
TOKYO: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Wednesday she was ready to work with her new Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, despite his hardline image.Hasina, who is serving as premier for the third time, said she has dealt with four different Indian governments - "This is the fifth one" - and was keen to maintain a working relationship with her powerful and populous neighbour.
"He has his own ideas. Now he has become the prime minister of India, I hope he will also act as the prime minister of India," she told a press conference in Tokyo, on the fourth day of her visit to Japan.
Modi, sworn in Monday after a landslide election victory earlier this month, has an image as a hardliner, even within his own Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He is regarded with deep suspicion by many in Pakistan after deadly anti-Muslim riots erupted in his western fiefdom of Gujarat in 2002.
However, Hasina said Muslim-majority Bangladesh has had good relations with India where differences have been resolved through discussions, such as concluding a treaty on water resources.
"What I believe is that through bilateral discussions, if there is any problem, we can solve it," she said.
She stressed the region shares a "common enemy" in poverty, which it needs to fight through economic development.
"Bangladesh's foreign policy is very clear. Friendship to all, and malice to none," she said.
Hasina also suggested that Bangladesh was ready to withdraw its rival candidacy against Japan for a non-permanent member seat on the UN Security Council, if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were to visit her nation.
Abe, who met with Hasina on Monday, gave $5.9 billion economic aid.-AFP
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