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Special> Focus on Xinjiang> Latest News
UPDATED: July 31, 2009
Trials for Riot Suspects Set for August

Trials for suspects in the deadly July 5 riot in Urumqi are expected to start the middle of next month, a source told China Daily Thursday, on the same day that police issued photos of 15 suspects they want to apprehend.

The Urumqi Intermediate People's Court has been preparing for the hearings, according to the source.

Authorities have arrested 253 more suspects in connection with the riot in the capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region; 1,400 were detained earlier, according to police.

The police have not said how many of the detainees were released after being investigated.

Only "a small number" of those arrested are charged and will stand trial for the riot, which left 197 dead and 1,700 injured, the source said.

Several panels have already been set up in preparation for the trials, reported the Beijing-based Legal Daily, which is overseen by the Ministry of Justice, on Wednesday.

The collegial panels are composed of three to seven judges, the number of which must be odd. In case of differing opinions on a ruling, the majority's opinion is adopted.

The Higher People's Court of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has selected dozens of judicial personnel across the region for the trials, Zhang Yahao, deputy director of the criminal division's No 1 courtroom of Urumqi intermediate court, was quoted as saying by the paper.

"The personnel have been given training on related legal provisions in order to have great exactitude when handling the cases," said Zhang.

Lawyers who were assigned to the suspects also received special training.

Zhang said a detailed security plan--including how to secure the court during the trials and how to escort the suspects - has been formulated.

It remains unknown whether the trials will be made public. But in previous riot cases, only designated personnel were allowed to attend the hearings, according to another source with the justice system.

The source said the Uygur language is likely to be used at the trials of Uygur suspects.

While the suspects await trial, the Urumqi Public Security Bureau announced late Wednesday a wanted list and photos of 15 suspects on the run.

Among the wanted suspects, two are female. One of them is Han; the rest are Uygurs.

The list and photos of the wanted suspects were published on the website of the Ministry of Public Security, Xinjiang Daily and Xinjiang Morning Post.

The police urged the suspects to turn themselves in. Those who do so within 10 days will be dealt with leniently while others will be punished severely, police said.

People who report the suspects or offer clues will be rewarded while those who help protect the suspects will be punished, police said.

(China Daily July 31, 2009)

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