Kirti Monastery monk Lobsang Tashi in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, October 3: Two Tibetans in eastern Tibet have been found “guilty” of “contacting with outsiders” and sentenced to several years in prison by a Chinese court.
The Intermediate People's Court in Barkham, on September 18, sentenced a lay Tibetan, Thupdor, 25, to seven and a half years in prison and Lobsang Tashi, 26, a monk from the beleaguered Kirti Monastery to seven years for “making contacts with outsiders.”
Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a release yesterday said both Tibetans are currently serving their sentences at Mianyang prison.
“Since their detention in November 2011, both men Thupdor and Lobsang Tashi disappeared without any access to due process, and were not allowed to contact their family members,” TCHRD said.
Thupdor went missing for over nine months after his arbitrary arrest, while Tashi's family members had no information about his condition and place of detention for over six months.
Families of the two arrested men were told by Chinese authorities to visit Barkham, two days before the sentencing, without providing any information on the impending trial.
“In the majority of the cases in Tibet, suspects are rarely given the right to choose their own defense lawyers,” TCHRD said.
“In the past, defense lawyers representing some Tibetan suspects, such as the imprisoned Tibetan filmmakers Dhondup Wangchen or the highly-revered Tibetan lama Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, were rejected by the Chinese authorities.”
“Moreover, these defense lawyers have faced intimidation and coercion for their courage to represent politically-sensitive cases,” TCHRD added.
In June this year, a senior Tibetan monk was sentenced to seven years in prison on alleged crimes of sharing sensitive information on the ongoing self-immolation protests inside Tibet and attempting to contact the United Nations.Lho Younten Gyatso,
37, a monk of Khashi Geyphel Samtenling Monastery, situated near Ngaba, was sentenced for his involvement in sharing pictures and information on nun Tenzin Wangmo, who had self-immolated on October 17, 2011.
Tenzin Wangmo set herself on fire at a crossroad near her monastery, the Mamae Dechen Choekhorling Nunnery, in Ngaba region calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and religious freedom in Tibet. She succumbed to her injuries at the site of her protest.
Gyatso was also charged with “sharing information since 2008 about political events in Tibet by attempting to make telephone calls to human rights mechanisms of the UN.”