Dharamsala, August 14 – Eight Tibetans have been sentenced to varying jail terms by a court in Machen county in Golok Tibet Autonomous Prefecture yesterday.
The eight Tibetans sentenced by the People's Court in Machen County included six monks of Ragya monastery and two lay men.
Palden Gyatso, aged 40, disciplinarian of Ragya Monastery was sentenced to seven years in prison and Tsultrim, former disciplinarian of Ragya monastery received four years' sentence. Sangpo, the monastery’s ex-treasurer was sentenced to three years, and Jamyang Khedup, secretary of the monastery’s administrative body, was sentenced to two years in prison. Gedun Ralo received one year jail term, while Sherab Sangpo was sentenced to two years in jail.
Of the two lay persons, Hulo was sentenced to two years in jail and Yangkyab to six months.
The eight Tibetans were arrested in March this year following a death by suicide of a 28 year old Tibetan monk named Tashi Sangpo under pressure from Chinese investigating officers. Tashi’s death on March 22 this year immediately sparked off angry protests from the local Tibetans who took to
the streets with the banned Tibetan national flag and banners, chanting slogans such as “independence for Tibet, long live Dalai Lama.” Days before the Tibetan National Uprising on March 10, leaflets containing political messages were circulated in the monastery and a huge Tibetan national flag hoisted atop the main prayer hall. Security forces who sealed off the monastery claimed to have found a banned Tibetan national flag and political leaflets from Tashi’s room.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Tashi, who threw himself into the nearby Machu River, had been “severely subjected to harsh beatings and inhumane torture”.
The whereabouts of two other monks - Lobsang Dhargye and Mengag Dorje - who were arrested during the protests, remain unknown, according to the exile Tibetan government based here.