Two death sentences have been handed down by a Chinese court ruling on the contaminated baby milk scandal.
The two men to be executed stood accused of producing and selling the milk. As for the former boss of the company at the heart of the affair, she was sentenced to life in prison. Another defendant received a suspended death sentence, while seven others face between five and fifteen years in jail. The families of some of the victims gathered outside the court, which was closed to the public. Some voiced anger that the head of the Sanlu company had escaped the death penalty for her part in the contamination and the cover-up that followed. At least six children were thought to have died as a direct result of the poisoned milk, which also left an estimated 300,000 sick. With the long-term effects still unclear, it is difficult to say just how many infants the scandal will have affected. Sanlu bought and distributed watered down milk mixed with melamine, a substance used in plastics, that allowed the product to pass protein tests. The group failed to warn authorities when the first cases of kidney damage emerged. A compensation fund set up by retailers that stocked the milk has been criticised as being insufficient.