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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Self-immolations: China sentences eight Tibetans

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Dharamsala, February 02, 2013
First Published: 19:10 IST(2/2/2013) | Last Updated: 19:22 IST(2/2/2013)

With Chinese authorities' sentencing eight Tibetans on intentional homicide charges, one with the suspended death sentence, the Tibetan government-in-exile has condemned the harsh punishments, alleging that verdicts have been given out without due process and proper representation.

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On January 31, the Intermediate People's Court of Ngaba, Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, handed Lobsang Kunchok, 40, with death penalty with two years' reprieve and deprivation of political rights for life.

His nephew, Lobsang Tsering, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with his political rights deprived for three years.

Both Kunchok and Tsering were detained in August 2012, but their detention and police charges against them were announced only in December 2012 by the Chinese government. The two were charged with inciting at least eight Tibetans to self-immolate, of which three died while five changed their minds.

Meanwhile, Sangchu County People's Court in Kanlho Prefecture in Gansu Province sentenced six Tibetans to three to 12 years in prison for their alleged roles in the self-immolation of a Tibetan, occurred in October 2012. The six Tibetans are Pema Dhondup, Kelsang Gyatso, Pema Tso, Lhamo Dondup, Dhukar Gyal and Yangmo Kyi.  In past two days, eight Tibetans have become victims of Chinese wanton onslaught.

A rights group, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), said that "the latest sentencing is a first of its kind where a known Tibetan has been given a suspended death penalty for 'inciting' or 'abetting' self-immolation protests, a charge the Chinese government calls intentional homicide."

Criticising the crackdown on the Tibetans, Kalong for Home, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Dolma Gyari said the sentences to the innocent Tibetans' was unacceptable as the verdicts had been given out without due process and proper representation.

"The series of rushed sentences clearly show that Tibetans in Tibet are denied basic human rights," said Gyari, adding that it was also evident that these had been done in utter disregard to the Tibetan aspiration and deep anguish at the continuing self-immolations in Tibet. As many as 99 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009, protesting against the Chinese rule in Tibet.

"The CTA holds the Chinese leadership solely responsible for the growing unrest and deteriorating situation in Tibet. We believe the world cannot remain a silent witness to this growing tragedy in Tibet," she said.

It is worth mentioning here that the entire Tibetan administration along with thousands of exiles have converged at national capital Delhi for a four-day solidarity campaign which is aimed at garnering support on Tibet issue.


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