Dharamsala, April 8 — Two Tibetans have been sentenced to death by the Lhasa Municipal Intermediate People's Court today in what the Chinese state media described as “arson cases that left seven people dead and five shops burned to the ground in Lhasa,” last March.
It was the first report of death sentences given out for the March 14 violence in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, that Chinese officials say killed 22 people but the exile Tibetan government claims more than 200 Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese forces.
Lobsang Gyaltsen was sentenced to death for burning two clothing shops in downtown Lhasa on March 14, killing a shop owner, according to Chinese state media Xinhua.
Loyak, was given the death penalty for his role in the burning of a motorcycle shop that killed the owner, his wife, his son, and two employees, Xinhua said.
Two other Tibetans, Tenzin Phuntsok and Kangtsuk, have been given suspended death sentences with two year reprieve. Another Tibetan named Dawa Sangpo has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Exile Tibetan government’s spokesperson has told Associated Press those sentenced had not received a fair trial and warned of even greater resentment among Tibetans. "These decisions are made by a kangaroo court of law. There is no proper legal defense for the accused," AP quoted Thupten Samphel as saying. "These kinds of decisions increase China's Tibet problem. China should show magnanimity to make Tibetan people less resentful."
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Tibetan NGO monitoring human rights in Tibet, condemned the verdicts saying they clearly “highlight the current level of repression in Tibet where state agencies freely abuse the human rights of the Tibetan people with impunity.”
TCHRD calls the verdicts “an intimidation being passed onto the Tibetans who dare show their dissent with the state.”
The centre says around 230 Tibetans have received varying prison terms for their participation in the spring protest last year.