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China jails 17 Tibetans in a "swift and quick" court proceeding

April 30, 2008

TCHRD PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Tenzin Norgay (English) / Jampa Monlam (Tibetan and Chinese)
Tel: +91 1892 223363 / 229225
Email: tenzinnorgay@tchrd.org  office@tchrd.org

China's state media today morning announced that 17 Tibetans have been
sentenced between three years to life imprisonment in connection with
the Lhasa revolt in March 2008.  It is the first instance of a group of
Tibetans handed down with harsh prison terms since protests broke out in
Lhasa and various Tibetan areas under Chinese administration beginning
from 10 March 2008. The state media did not reveal whether the current
group of Tibetans sentenced to harsh terms were part of those who gave
in before the official surrender deadline issued by the authorities.

The Xinhua report stated, "Two men, including a Buddhist monk identified
as Basang (Passang), received life sentences... Basang was accused of
leading 10 people, including five other monks, to destroy local
government offices, burn down shops and attack policemen... Of the five
monks, two were sentenced to 20 years, and the other three to 15 years
in jail." "The other man who received a life sentence was identified as
Soi'nam Norbu (Sonam Norbu), a driver for a Lhasa real estate company".
No details were given on the 10 other people sentenced.

The Chinese authorities have arbitrarily arrested thousands of Tibetans
following the pan-Tibet protests in March 2008.  While the official
media claims 2300 Tibetan protesters were arrested, The Tibetan Centre
for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) fears the actual number of
arrests can be manifold.

On several occasions, the "Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR") Communist
Party and Government officials have called for a swift and quick
judicial process to strike back at the "separatists" and the "Dalai
clique". On 4 April 2008, Lhasa City Deputy Party Secretary said that
amongst the protesters arrested in Lhasa, 800 Tibetans would be brought
before the court.  During a conference of "TAR" court officials in the
evening of 2 April 2008, "TAR" government Vice-Chairman, Pema Thinley,
urged "the usage of law as a tool to strike back at the enemies". He
called for a "swift and quick judicial proceedings" for those involved
in March protest. Jampa Phuntsok, during his briefing at the Foreign
Ministry of the People's Republic of China on 9 April told reporters
"953 have been arrested out of which 328 have been released where as 403
will be carried forward for sentencing by the court."

There are currently thousands of Tibetan protesters under detention in
Tibetan areas outside the "TAR".  In the aftermath of the mass uprising
by the Tibetan people, Chinese People's Armed Police and Public Security
Bureau officials arrested thousands of Tibetans particularly from
Kardze (Ch: Ganzi), Ngaba (Ch: Aba), Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe)  and Kanlho
(Ch: Gansu).

In the absence of any independent media and monitoring agencies in Tibet
and the use of judicial proceedings as an official reprisal instead of
protection of fundamental human rights of the Tibetans, TCHRD expresses
its concern at the sub-standard legal proceedings in Chinese occupied
Tibet and fears the worst scenarios for the Tibetan protesters last
month who exercised their fundamental human rights of freedom of opinion
and expression.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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