Two Chinese Uighurs jailed for UAE bomb plot
Abu Dhabi, July 1, 2010
An Abu Dhabi court has jailed two Chinese Uighurs for 10 years for plotting to bomb a massive shopping centre in Dubai, an Emirati newspaper said on Thursday.
The men, arrested last year after a tip-off from the Chinese embassy, were convicted of plotting to blow up a statue outside Dubai's DragonMart, home to nearly 4,000 shops mainly selling Chinese-made goods, The National newspaper said.
The court heard that the men did not intend to cause casualties but the explosives they planned to use would have caused damage up to 80 metres from the blast site, the paper said. The verdict, issued by the State Security Court, cannot be appealed.
The pair, Mayma Ytiming Shalmo and Wimiyar Ging Kimili, were also convicted of being members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, the paper said, which China accuses of orchestrating attacks in its restive Xinjiang region.
They came to the attention of authorities after making a wire transfer of Dh50,000 ($13,620) to China and then moving the cash to Saudi Arabia, where they also travelled several times while planning the attack, the paper said.
The men said they travelled to Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest site, for religious reasons. They will be deported to China after serving their sentences, the paper said.
Chinese embassy and consular officials were not immediately available to comment on Wednesday's verdict.
The Uighurs are a Turkic, mainly Muslim people centred in China's Xinjiang area who share linguistic and cultural bonds with Central Asia. Many chafe under Chinese rule and resent an influx of Han Chinese workers from eastern and central China.
Xinjiang has long been a tightly controlled hotbed of ethnic tension. Beijing often blames what it calls violent separatist groups in Xinjiang for attacks on police or other government targets, saying they work with al Qaeda or Central Asian militants to seek an independent state called East Turkestan.
Uighur exiles accuse China of whipping up the threat posed by armed separatists to justify harsh crackdowns in the region.-Reuters