Dead body of Norpa Yonten who was shot dead during a peaceful protest by Chinese security personnel on January 23, 2012 in Drango.
DHARAMSHALA, November 6: Five monks from the Drango Monastery in the Kardze region of eastern Tibet have been sentenced to varying prison terms of six to seven years for their alleged involvement in a major anti-China protest that erupted in the area earlier this year.
Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a release today said their sentencing came after months of arbitrary detention and disappearance.
The five monks have been identified as, Tulku Lobsang Tenzin, 40, a reincarnated lama and abbot of Gochen Monastery - sentenced to seven years in prison, Drango Monastery’s teacher Geshe Tsewang Namgyal, 42, and accountant Tashi Thupwang aka Dralha, 31 - sentenced to six years, the monastery’s shop manager Thinlay - sentenced to five years, and Geshe Tenzin Palsang aka Tenga, senior caretaker of the monastery - sentenced to six years.
“Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, along with Geshe Tsewang Namgyal, Dralha and Thinlay were detained from an Internet café in Tridu (Ch: Chengdu) in late January. Since then, they had remained disappeared for about ten months until their recent sentencing,” TCHRD said.
“Geshe Tenzin Palsang was detained on 2 April in Drango and since then had remained disappeared until his sentencing.”
The group cited sources as saying that the family members and relatives of the monks were informed about the sentencing after about 15 days. No details are available on the exact charges under which the sentences were passed.
The release added that three known Tibetans, Yonten Sangpo, Tashi Dhargye and Namgyal Dhondup continue to remain missing after their detention following the Drango protest.
Hundreds of Tibetans had come out on the streets in Drango on January 23, the first day of Chinese new year, calling for Tibet’s freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. Chinese security forces retaliated by firing indiscriminately at the unarmed demonstrators, killing and injuring scores of people.
Following the protests, Chinese authorities led a large-scale manhunt for suspected demonstrators and in one instance, shot down and killed two brothers in their hideout in the nearby hills of Drango.
Over the past months, China has been tightening the noose on Tibetans suspected of taking part in the peaceful protests.
Chinese courts in eastern Tibet have sentenced scores of Tibetan to varying prison terms – from nine months to life-imprisonment, including both monks and laymen, for their ‘involvement’ in the January 23 protest.