US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia said Pezilet Ekber was working as a saleswoman at a shop in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang region, when riots broke out between the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur minority and Han Chinese on July 5, 2009. The riots left nearly 200 people dead and were the most serious outbreak of violence in Xinjiang in years.
The report cited a letter from a classmate of the woman as saying Miss Ekber was sentenced to death in April last year with a two-year reprieve by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court. Such punishments are usually commuted to life in prison.
Officials at the court and the regional government either refused to comment or said no one was available to do so. The RFA report, published on Friday, did not give details of the charges against Ekber.
News about court cases in Xinjiang has only trickled out at times, as the government controlled the flow of information in an apparent bid to limit any public reactions.