By Kalsang Rinchen
Dharamsala, May 21 – China has sentenced a Tibetan monk to life imprisonment in connection with last year’s protests and unrests that gripped the restive Himalayan region months before the Beijing Olympics.
The Kanlho Intermediate People’s Court announced the verdict today on Tsultrim Gyatso, a monk of Labrang Monastery for “endangering the state security”. Tsultrim, 37, of Yig-jang village, Sangchu County, participated in a protest in Sangchu county on March 15, 2008, according to reports. Tsultrim fled the county immediately after the protest but was arrested on May 22, 2008 by Drugchu County Public Security Bureau.
In another incident, two brothers from Kardze were arrested early this month for their role in a protest in Kardze County on March 18 last year. They were on the run since the protest until their arrest from Jyekundo. Tenpa, 30, and Jamdo, 25, belong to Rapa Village in Kardze County. More than 300 Tibetans staged a peaceful protest demonstration in the main market square of Kardze County between 2:30 - 3:00 PM (Beijing Standard Time), on March 18 last year. At least 3 Tibetans had died in the eventual crackdown by the Chinese security forces who fired into the crowd indiscriminately, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy had said in a press release on March 18, 2008.
According to the TCHRD, there are at least 235 known cases of Tibetans sentenced so far to varying prison terms out of which 5 Tibetans were sentenced to death - three with two-year reprieve-, and 11 to life imprisonment.