A rights group says a court in northwestern China has sentenced eight Tibetans to prison terms ranging up to seven years for involvement in unrest earlier this year.
The India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement Tuesday that the eight, including six monks, were sentenced Thursday by a court in Qinghai province's Machen county in Golog Tibet Autonomous Prefecture. The center did not say when the trial took place.
The six monks of Ragya monastery (with prison terms in bracket) were identified as Palden Gyatso, disciplinarian of Ragya Monastery, (7 years); Tsultrim, former disciplinarian (4 years); Sangpo, former treasurer (3 years); Jamyang Khedup, secretary of the board of directors (2 years); Gedun Ralo, (1 year) and Sherab Sangpo (2 years). The two lay men - Hulo and Yangkyab - were sentenced to imprisonment for 2 years and six months respectively.
They took part in a protest against the Chinese authorities over a death of fellow monk of Ragya Monastery named Tashi Sangpo. Tashi Sangpo hoisted the banned Tibetan national flag and distributed pamphlets at Ragya monastery on 10 March this year. He was arrested with a group of monks and interrogated. On 21 March, he took the entire responsibility on himself and appealed for the release of other monks. Later in the evening, he committed suicide by jumping into the Machu river to evade arrest by the Public Security Bureau.
Following the incident, a large number of local Tibetans held peaceful demonstration in front of the police station and demanded the authorities to stop killing Tibetans. On 22 March, the police arrested around 100 monks.
Some information for this report was provided by Tibet.net and AP.