Death penalty for imam killers

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-9-29 0:43:01

Authorities ‘deeply shocked’ by murder

Nurmemet Abidilimit and Gheni Hesen, the two suspects who were involved in the murder of Jume Tahir, imam of Id Kah Mosque, in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, were sentenced to death on Sunday, the local court said.

A separate suspect, Atawulla Tursun, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The verdict was released by the Intermediate People's Court of Kashgar on Sunday.

The court said that Gheni Hesen had recruited the other people to join his terror group and planned the attack on the imam.

Atawulla Tursun and Nurmemet Abidilimit were said to have prepared the weapons and gathered information.

Tahir, 74, was killed by three terrorists at around 7 am on July 30 after he finished the morning prayer service.

Two terrorists, Turghun Tursun and Memetjan Remutillan, were shot dead by police during the pursuit and a separate terrorist, Abidilimit, was captured.

China Central Television reported that it was Abidilimit's confession that led to the arrest of the other suspects involved in the murder.

Previous media reports said the suspects had been influenced by religious extremism and intended to do "something big" to raise their reputations as terrorists.

Tahir's murder came two days after a deadly terror attack broke out in Shache county in Kashgar prefecture.

The attack left 37 civilians dead and 94 injured. During the attack, police shot dead 59 terrorists and arrested another 215.

Seventeen officials and police officers have received penalties for being accountable for the murder and a deadly attack.

The State Administration for Religious Affairs said previously it was "deeply shocked" by the murder and described Tahir's death as a "huge loss" for the country's Islamic circle.

Tahir was not the first religious leader targeted by extremists.

In 1996, Tahir's predecessor at the same mosque was attacked by two masked extremists on his way to the mosque. The imam survived being stabbed 21 times. The attackers admitted to being members of a terror group.

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