U.S. lawmakers have "strongly condemned" what they called Beijing's harsh pre-Olympic crackdown in China's Muslim-populated far northwest Xinjiang region.
The bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in a statement on Friday cited "credible" reports about a July 9 conviction in a closed trial of 15 minority Muslim Uighurs on terrorism charges that led to "the immediate execution of two" of them.
Three others were given suspended death sentences and the remaining 10 received life imprisonment, it said.
The Uighur American Association in a statement urged Beijing to provide evidence to the international community to back claims of criminal charges leveled against the 15 Uighurs.
"The experience of Uighurs has shown that the Beijing regime is prone to manipulating threats of religious extremism and terrorism in order to crack down on peaceful dissent," said association president Rebiya Kadeer.
These are "abuses of due process and rule of law," said caucus co-chairmen Democrat Jim McGovern and Republican Frank Wolf.
On the same day, they said, police in Urumchi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, reportedly killed five Uighur men who authorities claimed were part of a 15-member criminal gang allegedly trained for "holy war."
"The Chinese government should not be permitted to use the 'war on terror' or Olympic security as a front to persecute the Uighurs," Wolf said.
"These trials' appear to be no more than a ploy to oppress religious freedom and ethnic minority groups," he said.
Amnesty says Xinjiang is the only place in China where political prisoners are executed and subject to special forms of torture believed not used in other parts of the country.
Chinese police have this year detained 82 suspected terrorists in Xinjiang who they said were planning to attack the Beijing Olympics, state media reported on Thursday.