Asia

Former head of Xinjiang jailed for life over graft

BEIJING: One of China's highest-ranking Uighur officials and the former head of the troubled northwest Xinjiang region was sentenced Monday (Dec 2) to life in prison over graft charges, a court said.

It is among the most high-profile cases in President Xi Jinping's sweeping campaign against corruption in the ruling Communist Party, which critics have compared to a political purge.

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Nur Bekri, an ethnic Uighur who was most recently head of China's national energy administration, pleaded guilty to accepting over 79 million yuan (US$11.2 million) worth of bribes over the course of twenty years, according to the Shenyang Intermediate People's Court in northeast China.

Investigators claimed he had used his position to live "extravagantly" and benefit himself and his family, buying luxury cars and doling out favours to others.

In the courtroom, Bekri said he would "obey the verdict and not appeal', said the Shenyang court on its official Twitter-like Weibo account.

In addition to life imprisonment, Bekri was "deprived of political rights for life" and all his personal assets were confiscated.

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The Uighur minority populates Xinjiang, where an estimated one million mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are held in internment camps which Beijing defends as "vocational education centres" used for counter-terrorism purposes.

During Bekri's tenure in the region he oversaw one of its deadliest periods of violence, including riots in 2009 that left nearly 200 dead.

At the time, Bekri vowed to "curb violent crimes with an iron hand," according to state media.

Bekri had worked his way up in his native Xinjiang – eventually rising to deputy party secretary and government chairman in the far western reRead More – Source

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