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Chinese court upholds death sentences for coal mine bosses responsible for deadly 2009 blast

12-02-2010 08:48 BJT

ZHENGZHOU, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese court Wednesday upheld the death sentences with two year reprieves given to two mine bosses found responsible for a gas explosion that killed 76 people at a central China coal mine last year.

The sentences were the first time mine bosses in China held responsible for a fatal accident were given the death penalty.

The provincial high court in Henan Province rejected the appeals of Li Xinjun, former head of the No. 4 coal mine in the Xinhua District of Pingdingshan City, and Han Erjun, former deputy head of the mine.

The court also rejected appeals filed by three other managers of the mine who were sentenced to 13 years, 15 years and life imprisonment respectively.

The Intermediate Court of Pingdingshan City sentenced the five mine bosses on November 16 for neglecting safety procedures and forcing miners to work underground despite knowing the mine lacked adequate safety measures.

The blast ripped through the No. 4 mine in Pingdingshan City on September 8, 2009, as 93 miners worked underground, killing 76 and injuring 15 others.

The mine was under technological renovation at the time of the blast and did not have a safe production license, the court has found.

China's coal mines are notorious for deadly accidents. More than 2,600 miners were killed in mine accidents in China last year, a number significantly less than in previous years.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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