Two get death sentence in China milk scandal (Lead)

January 22nd, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Shijiazhuang (China), Jan 22 (Xinhua) Two men were sentenced to death Thursday by a local court in connection with the China tainted milk scandal in which about 296,000 infants suffered kidney stones and other urinary problems.Zhang Yujun, who produced and sold melamine-laced “protein powder”, was convicted of endangering public security and given capital punishment by the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court, while the other man Geng Jinping was convicted of producing and selling toxic food.

The court had announced it would sentence 21 defendants implicated in the scandal Thursday afternoon. However, it said that nine of them would be sentenced at other courts.

The nine people were tried at the courts in Zhaoxian, Xingtang, Luquan and Wuji Counties, all under the jurisdiction of Shijiazhuang.

Among the 12 people who were convicted Thursday afternoon, two were given death penalty, one with suspended death, three jailed for life and the other six jailed between five years and 15 years.

Tian Wenhua, former board chairwoman of the Sanlu Group that is at the heart of the scandal, was convicted of manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products and sentenced to life in prison. Three other former executives of Sanlu were jailed for 5-15 years.

The Ministry of Health said it was likely the tainted milk scandal killed at least six babies. Another 296,000 infants suffered kidney stones and other urinary problems.

Apart from the 21 defendants who have been sentenced or tried, Chinese police have so far arrested 39 suspects over the tainted milk powder scandal, said Zhang Deli, chief procurator of the Hebei Provincial People’s Procuratorate. But it is unclear when they would go on trial.

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