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Chinese court sentences Tibetan man to death, 5 others to long jail terms
Phayul[Wednesday, May 26, 2010 14:31]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, May 26: A Chinese court in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Tuesday issued a suspended death sentence to a 23-year old Tibetan for his alleged involvement in the anti-China unrest in March 2008, a Dharamsala based Tibetan rights group said.

Sonam Tsering (Photo: TCHRD/file)
Sonam Tsering (Photo: TCHRD/file)
The Lhasa Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court on 25 May, 2010, sentenced a 23-year old Tibetan, Sonam Tsering, to death with two years reprieve under article 289 and 263 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, according to Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The same court also sentenced five others, identified as Tashi Choedon, Kelyon, Yeshi Tsomo, Tayang, Tsewang Gyurmey, to long jail terms ranging from 3 to 7 years under Article 310 of the PRC's Criminal Law for their alleged role in "secretly hiding" Sonam Tsering, TCHRD said, citing Lhasa Evening News as reporting. (Click Here for the Lhasa Evening News report in Chinese)

According to Lhasa Evening New, TCHRD said, Sonam was charged of "rioting and inciting the public to riot on 14 March 2008".

"He undertook leadership role in inciting hundreds of people in rioting by setting cars and shops on fire and overturning police vehicles," the report said.

He was also charged of wielding knife in the air and loudly shouting "anti government slogans" atop a police vehicle. According to Chinese media, a damage of around 40 million Yuan had been done due to the rioting.

The other five Tibetans were charged for providing "a hiding place to a wanted criminal" and assistance for possible escape to overseas, the report said.

Sonam Tsering, born to father Tsering Samdup and mother Yangkyi, belongs to a semi-nomadic family in Rachap Township, Payul County, Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” in Sichuan Province, the centre said.

Sonam reportedly arrived in Lhasa in late 2007 on pilgrimage and stayed back. When popular protest broke out in Lhasa in March 2008, he took active participation in it. He was arrested in mid October 2009, 17 months after the Uprising in Lhasa, TCHRD said.

With the passing of death sentence on Sonam Tsering, the centre said, a total of seven Tibetans had been given the capital punishment and two actually executed. In October last year, China confirmed it executed two Tibetans for their role in the 2008 unrest.

Around 450 Tibetans have been given various imprisonment terms for their participation in the pan-Tibet spring uprising against the government of People’s Republic of China, TCHRD said.

TCHRD said the widespread unrest across the Tibetan region in 2008 was a "spontaneous protest by the Tibetans in venting out a built up resentment over decades of flawed policies" by the Chinese Communist government.

The centre condemned the Chinese government and its propaganda department for "repeatedly painting the popular Tibetan uprising with an image of criminal activities" to the international community, saying it was a cover up to justify its subsequent violent crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators.
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