Beijing, Dec 11 (IANS) A court in China Tuesday sentenced three men to death and one to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of attempting to hijack an aircraft and trying to detonate explosives inside it in June.
On June 29, six people tried to hijack the Tianjin Airlines' flight GS7554 after it took off from Hotan airport and was 1,400 km from its destination Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur region.
Musa Yvsup and Arxidikali Yimin, who led a terrorist group and plotted the hijacking, and Eyumer Yimin, a participant in the incident, were sentenced to death, Xinhua reported.
Alem Musa, who played a "minor role" in the hijacking and pleaded guilty, received a life sentence.
All the defendants confessed to the crime.
The court in Hotan prefecture of Xinjiang ruled that the accused were guilty of organising, leading or participating in a terrorist group, hijacking the aircraft, and attempting to detonate explosives on the aircraft.
The accused used converted metal crutches and explosives they carried in disguise.
They were stopped by crew members as well as passengers while trying to detonate the explosive devices. Two of the hijackers were injured, and later died despite being given medical treatment.
A total of 24 people were injured in the incident, which caused an economic loss of over 28 million yuan (around $4.5 million).
The court said the group was influenced by religious extremists and terrorists.