URUMQI, June 16 -- Three people were sentenced to death and five others were jailed on Monday by a court in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region over a terror attack near Beijing's Tian'anmen Square in October 2013.
Urumqi Intermediate People's Court sentenced Husanjan Wuxur, Yusup Umarniyaz and Yusup Ahmat to death after convicting them of organizing and leading a terrorist group and endangering public security.
Gulnar Tuhtiniyaz and Bujanat Abdukadir were sentenced to life in jail and 20 years in prison respectively for participating in a terrorist group and endangering public security.
Three others, Tohti Mehmat, Tursunjan Abliz and Abla Niyaz, were given jail terms of ten to five years for participating in a terrorist group, said the court.
According to the court, defendants Wuxur, Umarniyaz, Ahmat and Usmen Hasan began to recruit members in 2011 to carry out terrorist activities and formed a terrorist group.
From December 2012 to September 2013, the four looked for guns and explosives in different places, watched terrorism videos and jointly planned terrorist acts such as blasts and killings in Beijing.
On Oct. 7, 2013, four defendants including Wuxur and Ahmat arrived in Beijing in a vehicle, together with Hasan, his wife Gulkiz Gheni and his mother Kuwanhan Reyim. Umarniyaz arrived in Beijing later to join them, said the court.
They raised money to buy a car, gasoline, knives and gas masks and visited Tian'anmen Square several times to gather information.
At noon on Oct. 28, Hasan, Gheni and Reyim drove a jeep into a crowd of people near Tian'anmen Square, killing three innocent people and injuring 39 others. The three suspects died on the spot.
A year-long crackdown on terrorism was launched in China with Xinjiang as the major battleground after a terrorist attack on May 22 in an open market in the regional capital Urumqi. The attack, the deadliest in recent years in the region, killed 39 innocent people and injured 94 others.
On June 5, local courts in Xinjiang sentenced nine people to death, three to suspended death and 69 others to life and fixed-term imprisonment for crimes of organizing, leading or participating in terrorist organizations, intentional homicide and arson.