By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, April 23: Tibet’s Government in exile has strongly condemned the latest harsh sentences being handed down by Chinese court on three young Tibetan girls in Lhasa over anti-China protests in Tibet last year.
Chinese court in Tibet has sentenced a Tibetan girl to death with a two-year reprieve and two others to long jail terms for their alleged roles during the March 2008 unrest in Lhasa.
Tibetan Government-in-exile, in a statement posted on its official website, said the sentences were arbitrarily meted out without open and fair trial.
“The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is deeply concerned that one Tibetan girl has been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and two other girls have been given long-term imprisonment,” Kesang Yangkyi Takla, Minister for the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, said Wednesday.
“We strongly condemn the harsh sentences arbitrarily meted out to the three girls without truly conducting an open and fair trial,” Kalon (minister) Takla said.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua, however, reported that a court in Lhasa issued a suspended death sentence to a Tibetan man, identified as a Penkyi of Sakya, and two other Tibetans for long term jail sentences for their alleged roles in March 2008 unrest in Lhasa.
The exile Tibetan government, NGOs and monitoring agencies have, however, identified that the three convicted were all women aged between 20 and 23.
While Penkyi, a 20-year old of Norbu village, Dogra Township in Sakya County, has been given suspended death sentence, the other two girls, one of them named also Penkyi, aged 23, of Thantoe village, Margkyang township in Nyemo County has been sentenced to life imprisonment and the other 20-year-old Chime Lhamo, of Sholtoe village, Namling township in Shigatse Namling County, has been sentenced to jail for 10 years.
Takla said the verdict was totally against the “claims of China's tremendous achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights” during the UN Human Rights Council's periodic review of China's human rights record earlier this year. “Moreover, China's first national human rights action plan stipulates that every precaution shall be taken in meting out a death sentence and judicial procedures for death sentences will be stringently implemented,” Takla said.
“We are deeply concerned that despite these pledges, in addition to four Tibetans who were given death sentences on 8 April, another Tibetan has been given death penalty,” Takla said in the statement.
Takla called on China to immediately released all prisoners of conscience and to accept an international body to investigate the conditions in Tibet.
She urged Chinese government and international community, including the UN Human Rights Council to give due consideration on the situation in Tibet, which she said was deteriorating.
Chinese court in Lhasa earlier this month sentenced two other people, Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak, to death for their alleged roles in separate arson attacks in Lhasa, Chinese state media said at the time. It was the first report of death sentences given out for last year’s unrest in Tibet that led to the most sustained uprising against Chinese rule in decades. Two others, Tenzin Phuntsok and Kangtsuk, were given suspended death sentences at the time, while another Dawa Sangpo was given life in prison in three separate “arson” cases.