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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China sentences eight Tibetans to varying prison terms in Tibet

August 18, 2009

Tibet Custom
August 16, 2009

According to a confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre
for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Chinese court on 13 August
2009 in Golog "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" (TAP) sentenced eight
Tibetans to varying prison sentences.

The People's Court of Machen County, Golog "TAP," Qinghai Province
sentenced six monks and two lay Tibetans to varying prison terms for
taking part in a peaceful protest on 21 March 2009.

Machen County People's Court found them guilty of inciting protests
and demonstrations against the Chinese government following the
suicide of Tashi Sangpo, who took his own life by drowning into
Yellow River [Tib: Machu River] on 21 March 2009. The suicide of monk
Tashi Sangpo was blamed for the prolong detention coupled with harsh
beatings, inhumane torture and long interrogation he suffered at the
local detention centre since his arrest on 10 March 2009.
Subsequently, by late afternoon of 21 March 2009, few moments after
the news of Tashi Sangpo's suicide, Ragya monks stormed the local
Public Security Bureau (PSB) office to demand answer for Tashi Sangpo's death.

In response the Chinese authorities arrested many monks of Ragya
Monastery and other ordinary Tibetans, of which eighth of them were
tried by the People's Court of Machen County, Golog "TAP," Qingahi
Province and sentenced to varying prison terms on 13 August 2009.

The eight indicted Tibetans were identified as:

1. Monk Palden Gyatso, a disciplinarian at Ragya Monastery, sentenced
to seven years rigorous imprisonment.

2. Monk Tsultrim, a former disciplinarian of Ragya Monastery was
given four years of rigorous imprisonment. He was also a former Chant
master, well trained in performing ritual prayers and a scholar on
vinaya teachings (monastic code of conduct).

3. Monk Sangpo was given three-year prison sentence. He was a former
treasurer of Ragya Monastery.

4. Monk Jamyang Khedrub was sentenced to two-year prison term. He was
the secretary of the Board of Directors of Ragya Monastery.

5. Monk Gendun was given one-year prison sentence.

6. Monk Sherab Sangpo, 27, was sentenced to two-year prison term.

7. Hu-lo from Gya-sa Village (lay person) was given one-year prison sentence.

8. Yang-kyab from Gya-sa Village (lay person) was given six-months
prison sentence.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) expresses
its serious concern over Chinese authorities' manhandling of the case
and awarding lengthy prison sentences to what was a mere and ordinary
exercise of the freedom of expression and opinion guaranteed by the
Chinese Constitutions and other International Conventions to which
China is a state party. In the light of this, the Centre urges the
Chinese government to reverse the verdict imposed by Machen County
People's Court and ensures fair and free trial to the eight Tibetans.
The Centre appeals to the international community to intervene in the
unfair sentencing of six Ragya monks and two Tibetans
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