29-09-2022 05:52 PM Jerusalem Timing

China Sentences 45 in East Turkestan for Jail over ’Illegal Border Crossing’

China Sentences 45 in East Turkestan for Jail over ’Illegal Border Crossing’

China has jailed 45 people in East Turkestan region for "illegal border crossing", state media said Thursday, as a group representing the mainly Muslim Uighur minority condemned the sentences.

China flagChina has jailed 45 people in East Turkestan region for "illegal border crossing", state media said Thursday, as a group representing the mainly Muslim Uighur minority condemned the sentences.

Courts in at least five cities in the western region jailed the suspects for several crimes including "organizing terrorist groups," and "illegal border crossing", the official Xinhua news agency said.

Names given for some of the suspects suggested they were Uighurs, whose homeland is in China-occupied East Turkestan.

The region is often hit by unrest and China has launched a harsh police crackdown on those who it says are behind the violence and seek independence for the region.

Chinese state media have accused border-crossers from East Turkestan of joining terrorist groups, while rights organizations say they are fleeing oppression.

Two were jailed for life, while 43 others received sentences of between four and 15 years.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for exile group the World Uyghur Congress said in a statement: "China's repressive policies cause Uighurs to leave the country to seek safety.

"Harsh punishments are a way of avoiding taking political responsibility."

Thailand last month deported about 100 Uighur asylum seekers back to China, after sending more than 170 Uighur women and children to Turkey in late June.

The repatriation was condemned by the UN's refugee agency, which said they were at risk of torture or other inhumane treatment.