China executes 2 for deadly pre-Olympic attack on police

Attack took place in Xinjiang region, where authorities say insurgents are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement.

gallows 88 (photo credit: )
gallows 88
(photo credit: )
China executed two people Thursday for what a court described as an attempt to sabotage the Beijing Olympics with an attack in the far-west region of Xinjiang that killed 17 police, state media reported. The two were sentenced in December after being convicted of intentional homicide and illegally producing guns, ammunition and explosives, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It gave no additional details. They were found guilty of carrying out a terrorist attack to "sabotage" the Beijing Olympic Games. The Aug. 4, 2008 attack, four days before the start of the Olympics, took place in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two men stole a truck and rammed it into a group of police on their morning jog. The men continued attacking with homemade bombs and knives, killing the officers and wounding 15 others. The attackers were Abdurahman Azat, 33, a vegetable peddler, and Kurbanjan Hemit, 28, a taxi driver, both of Kashgar, Xinhua reported earlier. Before the attack, they wrote a letter saying they had to wage "holy war," and their mission was more important than their lives and mothers, Xinhua quoted a local Communist Party official as saying in August. Chinese authorities say insurgents among the Uighurs - Turkic-speaking Muslims - are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang and are seeking to set up an independent state in the Central Asian border province. Critics accuse Beijing of using claims of terrorism as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.