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Tibetan Gets Death Sentence for 2008 Riots

  • VOA Tibetan

Sonam Tsering (Photo: TCHRD/file)

A court in Lhasa has given a Tibetan a suspended death sentence for taking part in riots that erupted in Tibet two years ago, an overseas Tibetan rights group said.



The Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement late Wednesday that the Lhasa Intermediate People's Court sentenced Sonam Tsering, 23, to death with a two-year reprieve on Tuesday. Such sentences are usually commuted to life in prison.

It said Sonam Tsering is the seventh Tibetan so far to be sentenced to death for the riots, including two already executed.

The Lhasa court on Tuesday also ordered jail terms of between three and seven years for five other Tibetans convicted of harboring Sonam Tsering in their homes following the riots and helping him prepare to flee abroad, it said. He disappeared after the riots but was arrested 17 months later in October last year, it said.

Sonam Tsering was born in Ganzi, a predominantly Tibetan prefecture in southwest China's Sichuan province. He made a pilgrimage to Lhasa in 2007, then stayed on, the center said.

The center reported that the Lhasa court heard that he rioted and led others to riot by setting cars and shops on fire and overturning police vehicles. While standing on top of a police vehicle, he wielded a knife in the air and loudly shouted anti-government slogans, it said.

Lhasa government and court officials refused to confirm the ruling and said they had no knowledge of the case.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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