Dharamsala, Jan. 31 – The Ngaba County intermediate people's court sent a Tibetan to jail for four years for spearheading protests in the county last year, Dharamsala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said.
33 year old Choephel of Urjamtsang family, Unit No. 2, Meruma Township, Ngaba County, Ngaba "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture"('TAP') Sichuan Province, was allegedly involved in March 15, 16 and 17 protests in Ngaba County last year.
The verdict was passed on 4 November 2008. The court originally sentenced Choephel to ten years' jail term but later reduced the term to four years for his clean record in the past, according to TCHRD. Choephel was charged on alleged crimes of leading protests, looting and ransacking County Public Security Bureau (PSB) office and burning Chinese national flag during serial protests that gripped Ngaba county in the western province of Sichuan.
Sources told TCHRD that he was severely beaten up with rifle butts causing serious injuries to his left eye, head and limbs. “After going into hiding for several days he returned home from where he was arrested on April 4 last year."
Choephel's family did not know his whereabouts for four months despite frequent phone calls to local offices. However, his family learnt about his detention at Barkham County PSB Detention Centre in August 2008. Choephel’s father, Urjam, was also interrogated several times at Meruma Township Police station.”
Choephel’s family received a phone call from Ngaba County PSB office on November 3 informing them of his court trial the following day. However, only two members of his family were allowed inside the courtroom.
He is believed to have been held at Menyang prison, about 200 Kms on the outskirts of provincial capital, Chengdu.