Eight ethnic Tibetans including a monk were on Thursday convicted on charges of "intentional homicide" in two separate court verdicts for allegedly inciting people to self-immolate.
The accused were sentenced to three to 12 years in prison; in one case the accused monk was given a
suspended death sentence.
More than 90 Tibetans have set themselves afire since 2009 demanding more freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The Chinese government has in turn blamed the "Dalai-clique" for inciting separatism and terrorism in Tibetan regions of the country.
On Thursday, a court in southwest China's Sichuan Province sentenced Lorang Konchok, 40, to death with a two-year reprieve and stripped of his political rights for life. His nephew, Lorang Tsering, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and stripped him of his political rights for three years, according to the court verdict, quoted state-run Xinhua.
In the second case, six ethnic Tibetans were sentenced to three to 12 years in prison for their roles in an October self-immolation case by a local court in northwest China's Gansu province.
Lorang a monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba County of the Sichuan province was picked up in the first week of December after authorities charged him with goading eight Tibetans to set themselves on fire.
In an interview published in China Daily during his time in jail, Lorang said he had sent information about self-immolations to his contacts in India. He had earlier confessed to the police about his India-connections.
But the London-based Free Tibet had questioned the arrests and confessions. "Chinese state media outlet Xinhua is reporting that a monk alleged to have
"goaded" eight people to set themselves alight in Tibet has confessed to acting on the instructions of the Dalai Lama. Confessions in Tibet are frequently obtained through torture, which the UN has reported is "widespread" and "routine".
The group said in an emailed statement that available independent evidence indicates that self-immolations are mostly solitary acts which usually come as a surprise to those who know the individual involved.
The rights group had added that the Dalai Lama had never expressed support for the violent protests and the Tibetan government in exile has called for them to end.
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