The Tibetan government-in-exile Thursday condemned death sentences that a Chinese court issued to two Tibetans accused of starting deadly fires in last year's anti-government riots in Tibet.
"This kind of arbitrary sentences meted to Tibetans is exacerbated by the fact that there is no due process of law and the courts in the People's Republic China are political instruments of the authorities", said the statement.
The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India, repeated its calls for the Chinese to release all political prisoners arrested in the crackdown.
The sentences were handed down Wednesday, Chinese state media say a court has sentenced two Tibetans to death for allegedly setting fatal fires during riots last year, also handed down two suspended death sentences and a life sentence for arson charges to three other people. All death sentences are reviewed by China's supreme court before being carried out.
The death sentences were the first known to be ordered from the March 14 violence in the Tibetan capital. Last year's riots broke out after several days of peaceful anti-government protests by Buddhist monks. Chinese authorities previously announced that 76 people had been sentenced of the 950 still detained for charges related to the riot.
The rights group, The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said “the verdict clearly highlights the current level of repression in Tibet where state agencies freely abuse the human rights of the Tibetan people with impunity".
"the sentence is highly arbitrary and summary in nature which does not meet the minimal international judicial standards."
The rights group also said the Chinese authorities violent crackdown on peaceful protests which erupted throughout Tibet last year, left 220 Tibetans dead, 1,294 injured and 290 sentenced. More than 5,600 were arrested or detained and over 1,000 disappeared.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Tibetnet.