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China jails 42 over Tibet unrest, others on trial: state media
AFP[Friday, July 11, 2008 15:29]

China has jailed 42 people for their roles in this year's unrest in Tibet, with more than 100 others still on trial
China has jailed 42 people for their roles in this year's unrest in Tibet, with more than 100 others still on trial
BEIJING — China has jailed 42 people for their roles in this year's unrest in Tibet, with more than 100 others still on trial who may face the death penalty, state press reported on Friday.

Twelve people were jailed for unspecified periods of time on June 19 and 20, adding to the 30 people who were sentenced the previous month and whose cases had already been reported, Xinhua news agency said, citing a Tibetan leader.

No-one had yet been given the death penalty but those still on trial may be, the executive vice chairman of Tibet, Palma Trily, was cited as saying.

"It would be decided under Chinese laws whether some would be sentenced to death," he said.

The total number of people currently on trial is 116, he said.

Those jailed or on trial have been charged for their roles in riots in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, on March 14, Xinhua reported. Their crimes include arson, robbery and assaulting government offices, according to Xinhua.

Peaceful protests that began on March 10 in Lhasa to mark the anniversary of a 1959 uprising against China's rule of Tibet escalated into widespread violence across the city on March 14.

China says 18 "innocent civilians" and one policeman were killed in the riots.

China sent a massive security force into Tibet and closed the Himalayan region off to foreigners, but it has insisted it acted with restraint in quelling the unrest.

However, Tibet's government-in-exile says more than 200 people were killed in the Chinese crackdown on the unrest, which spread to other parts of western China that have Tibetan populations.

The 30 people jailed in April were sentenced for between three years and life.

However, human rights groups said they were not given a fair trial, and the US government expressed concern over their cases.

"Guilty or innocent, these Tibetans are entitled to a fair trial," Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said following the sentencing of the first 30.

"Instead, they were tried on secret evidence behind closed doors and without the benefit of a meaningful defence by lawyers they'd chosen."
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