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Afghans Convicted for Killing Chinese Workers

Mohammad Akbar, a former general of the Six Corps based in Kunduz in northeastern Afghanistan, and two accomplices were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in Kabul Wednesday, a local Afghan TV channel reported. Diplomatic sources familiar with the trial have confirmed the news.

The trio were found guilty of taking part in the murder of 11 Chinese workers on a road construction site in Kunduz in June.

A fourth man was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Although not directly involved in the killing, he tried to hide key facts about the case from the authorities for some time.

"There are 11 people altogether who stood trial and they received various punishments on the same occasion," the diplomatic source said, on condition of anonymity. They were arrested by authorities for planning and conducting attacks on Chinese workers as well as on Afghan government interests.

According to diplomatic sources, they are expected to appeal against the sentences and there may be a retrial in about two weeks.

Chinese workers from the Chinese Railway Construction Corporation were murdered and five others wounded in the early hours of June 10 by unnamed militants. President Hamid Karzai condemned the "enemies of Afghanistan" for carrying out the attack and his government vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

Local media and sources did not say when or where the suspects were caught and did not identify the other convicts.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2004)

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