Dolma Kyab, 32, was sentenced to death by a Chinese court for allegedly killing his wife on March 11 but exile Tibetans say his wife immolated self on March 13, 2013, in protest against Chinese rule
DHARAMSHALA, AUGUST 17: An Intermediate court in Tibet’s Ngaba region has sentenced a Tibetan man to death for allegedly killing his wife who the exile Tibetans say had died five months back after setting herself on fire in protest Chinese rule.
The Chinese state run media cited a court ruling that says Dolma Kyab, 32, from Zoege County had strangled his wife, Kunchok Wangmo to death on March 11 this year following an argument over “drinking problem”. However, reports published
earlier in March on this site indicate that Kunchok Wangmo, 31, set herself on fire on the eve of Xi Jinping’s formal selection as the new President of China to protest Chinese rule in Tibet and to call for the return of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
Following her self-immolation protest, the local Chinese authorities arrested Wangmo’s husband Dolma Kyab after he refused to comply with their orders to declare internal family feuds as the reason for her self-immolation.
According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, China has made aggressive overtures, mainly in the form of hush money, to silence family members of self-immolvation protesters.
Similarly, in November last year, Chinese security personnel secretly detained Dhonue, the husband of Dolkar Tso, who died of self-immolation on 7 August 2012 near Tsoe Gaden Choeling Monastery in Tsoe city in Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. The husband refused to accept bribe money offered by the authorities to sign a document that says his wife set herself on fire due to family disputes and not in protest against China’s rule.
Another self immolation protester Sangay Gyatso’s family members from the same region were offered a bribe of one million yuan to sign a document stating that his self-immolation was not targeted against China’s rule over Tibet.
Mr. Kyab is the sole bread earner in his family which consists of his eight-year-old daughter and his aged mother.
Interestingly, Chinese official media quoted Kyab’s lawyer Su Haijun as saying that Kunchok Wangmo’s parents would not believe that their son-in-law killed their daughter as the couple “were generally on good terms with each other.”
Kyab is the first Tibetan sentenced to death in connection with self-immolation protests.
“The latest death penalty indicates that the authorities have hardened their stance on the issue of self-immolation, by making an example out of a few defiant relatives to scare and intimidate other family members and relatives of self-immolation protesters into toeing the official line,” said Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of TCHRD.
Tsering further noted that the confessions made by Kyab regarding his involvement in the so-called murder of his wife is questionable as China “uses torture extensively to extract confessions in politically-motivated cases.”
“China’s lack of transparency in handing death penalty, in addition to its frequent failure to comply with international legal standards raises important questions over the lawfulness of the latest death sentence passed on Dolma Kyab."
Strongly condemning the use of death penalty, the Tibetan right group said it violates the fundamental right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. “The persistent use of death penalty demonstrates China’s rejection of the United Nations Global Moratorium on the Death Penalty, adopted in 2007, which establishes a suspension on executions with the view to abolish the death penalty.”
On August 2, Chinese state run media claimed that Chinese police in Qinghai have busted a "fabicated case of self immolation" by a Tibetan herdsman on May 27 this year, and arrested a 25 year old Tibetan monk named Cerzha (Sertha) for sending pictures of the charred remains taken from his cellphone to a monk in India.