Lobsang Tsultrim in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, October 2: Chinese courts in eastern Tibet have sentenced two teenaged Tibetan monks from the beleaguered Kirti Monastery in Ngaba to lengthy jail terms on currently unknown charges.
Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a release today identified the two as Lobsang Tsultrim, 19 and Lobsang Jangchup, 17.
Citing sources with close contacts in the region, TCHRD said Lobsang Tsultrim, was sentenced to 11 years in prison sometime in the beginning of September while Lobsang Jangchup was sentenced to 8 years around the same time.
Both the monks were detained in March earlier this year from their monastic quarters by local Chinese security officers on unknown charges.
“For over five months, no one had any information about the monks' whereabouts or the place of their detention,” TCHRD said. “The trial was held in complete secrecy in the absence of the monks' family members.”
Local Tibetans in Ngaba believe that the monks were arrested and sentenced on suspicion of their involvement in the March 10, 2012 self-immolation protest by Gepey
, a common friend of Lobsang Tsultrim and Lobsang Jangchup.
“However, there is no information on the exact charges that led to their conviction. Their whereabouts and the place of their imprisonment is not available at the moment,” TCHRD said.
Gepey, 18, a Kirti Monastery monk burned himself to death in an apparent protest against China’s rule on March 10, the day marking the 53rd anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprisings.
Gepey carried out his fiery protest near a military camp in Ngaba town that was built in the 1950s for China’s “liberation army” when they first invaded Tibet.
Since 2009, the ongoing wave of self-immolations has witnessed 52 Tibetans inside Tibet set themselves on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently expressed America's concerns over the increasing instances of self-immolations in Tibet and violations of human rights at a meeting with her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.
"The Secretary, as she always does, raised human rights concerns – notably in this particular meeting, concerns about Tibet and increasing pace of immolations," a senior US official said after Clinton met Yang on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.