By Tenzin Dharpo
Anya Sengdra in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 7: Tibetan anti-corruption activist Anya Sengdra has been sentenced to 7 years in jail on Friday on the charges of “gathering people to disturb public order” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by a court in Golog Prefecture, situated in eastern Tibet’s Amdo region.
The 47-year-old, his lawyer Lin Qilei tweeted, has refused to accept the verdict and that he would appeal.
Eight other Tibetan men also stood trial on Dec. 6 and were sentenced to varying prison terms. Sengdra’s brother who was detained shortly after him along with the eight others has unfortunately died in custody adding yet another case of death in detention in the long list of Tibetans who have perished that way.
“News has emerged that Jimtri (Sengdra’s brother) died after being taken from his detention center to hospital in Xining, Qinghai Province. The full circumstances of Jimtri’s death are not yet known,” International Tibet Network said Saturday.
Observers including exile Tibetans say that the trial was a sham like many before where Tibetans have been wrongly convicted on fabricated charges in a larger scheme to silence dissent in occupied Tibet.
Dorjee Tseten from Students for a Free Tibet told ITN, “A-Nya has become the latest victim of China’s systematic plan to silence and imprison Tibetans. The trumped up charges against him are farcical and reflect China’s lack of rule of law and respect for basic human rights. Tibetans and supporters around the world will continue to press for A-Nya’s release.”
John Jones from Free Tibet echoed similar sentiments, “A-Nya’s repulsive treatment following his arrest is indicative of how the Chinese Communist Party treats Tibetans who speak out. His peaceful work to protect the environment and challenge corruption highlighted problems that the authorities should have taken seriously. But rather than listening, the CCP decided that A-Nya must be locked away in silence. Only the release of A-Nya and the other eight convicted today, and an investigation into Jimtri’s death, can begin to repair this shameful behaviour.”
The activist was detained on 4 September 2018 from the highway intersection in Golok by PSB officers and taken to the PSB detention centre in Drotsang County, Tsoshar Prefecture.
Sengdra has been working to promote good governance, anti-corruption and social accountability from Kyanche. He has been a firm campaigner against government corruption at least since 2014 when he and other nomads formed a voluntary organization called ‘Mang Dhon Ling’ (Public Affairs Forum) which filed a petition calling for an investigation into the corrupt activities of the Gade County authorities and the hardships faced by the poor in his township.