China has sentenced a respected Tibetan Buddhist lama to more than eight years in jail for illegal possession of ammunition and embezzlement, charges that the lama has denied, his lawyer said Thursday.
Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, the 52-year-old head of the Pangri and Yatseg nunneries located in Karze, Tibet, has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison by the Intermediate People’s Court in Dartsedo on 23 December 2009.
He was arrested on 18 May last year just days after more than 80 nuns in the town of Karze held a peaceful demonstration against the Chinese government order to impose "patriotic re-education" on their nunneries in which they were required to denounce the His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Chinese government said they found a gun and ammunition at his home. He fought the charges when tried in April. after months of delay, the court last week sentenced him on weapon possession charges, as well as a separate property charge related to an old-age home that Phurbu Tsering ran, his two former lawyers, Li Fangping and Jiang Tianyong, told Reuters.
They said they were told of the sentence by Phurbu Tsering's family.
"He believes he is fully innocent, but may not appeal against the conviction," said Li, who is based in Beijing. "Given the way the judiciary works here, he doesn't see the point in appealing."
Some information for this report was provided by , TibetNet, AFP and AP.