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Document Details Tibetan Trial, Appeal

November 17, 2009

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
November 16, 2009

HONG KONG, Nov. 16 -- Court documents relating to
one of three Tibetans believed to have been
executed by the Chinese authorities for their
part in the Lhasa unrest of March 2008 have
confirmed the identity of one of the men, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

According to the documents, judicial authorities
in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China
handed down a death sentence to Lobsang Gyaltsen,
who was convicted of burning a Han Chinese
shopowner to death during the unrest of March 2008.

"For committing arson, the defendant Lobsang
Gyaltsen is sentenced to death and to the
revocation of his life-long political rights,”
the Lhasa municipal People’s Intermediate Court
said in its judgment, a copy of which was seen by RFA’s Tibetan service.

Tibetans in China and overseas had previously
reported the executions of at least three people
convicted of rioting during last year’s
widespread uprising against Chinese rule.

The reports mentioned one Lobsang Gyaltsen, 24, of Lubuk township, near Lhasa.

Accomplices cited

The court documents confirmed that a Tibetan
tour-guide named Lobsang Gyaltsen, known also by
his Chinese nickname Banzhang, was detained March
24, 2008, by Lhasa police on suspicion of
involvement in setting fire to shops during the unrest.

The disturbances flared March 14 in Tibetan
regions of China following three days of peaceful
protests in Lhasa. Lobsang Gyaltsen was formally arrested on April 1, 2008.

The Lhasa municipal procuratorate, or government
prosecution service, accused Lobsang Gyaltsen of
"actively participating in assault, smashing,
looting, and burning" in the Ramoche street area of Lhasa on March 14.

"During the afternoon of that day, Lobsang
Gyaltsen set fire to the Hongyu Kuye Garment on
Qingnian Lu with the help of fellow accused Pen Kyi," the court judgment said.

"The victim Zhao Rancun was a Han Chinese
national, 45 years old, who died due to burns,"
the judgment said, while estimating the damage to
Zhao’s shop from the fire at 250,000 yuan (U.S. $36,600).

"The accused also set another garment store,
Niaomo Shijia, on fire, causing damage worth 1.1 million yuan (U.S. $161,100).

The judgment, issued by the appeals department of
the Lhasa municipal People’s Court, said
subsequent investigations had interviewed Zhao’s
wife and son and the owner of the Niaomo Shijia garment store.

He was also convicted of inciting others to
participate in riots and of assaults on police, it said.

"The court found that Lobsang Gyaltsen did
participate in the March 14 arson, threw stones
at the armed police on Ramoche street and
instigated Tenzin (another accomplice) to participate in the arson."

"At 14.00 hours on the same day, Lobsang
Gyaltsen, with the assistance of Pen Kyi, set the
Hongyu Kuye garment shop on fire," it said.

"Lobsang used his lighter to set fire to a shirt
which he threw on the pile of clothes in the
shop. Pen Kyi threw kerosene oil that she brought
with her which caused the fire to catch and engulf the whole store in flames."

In October, Tibetan exiles and residents of the
region first reported the execution of several
people convicted of rioting during last year’s
widespread uprising against Chinese rule.

They were the first reported executions in
connection with rioting that erupted in March
2008 in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)
capital, Lhasa. Capital punishment is
administered only rarely in Tibet, experts say.

Mixed plea

The judgment, dated April 8, 2009, said that
Lobsang Gyaltsen denied setting fire to Hongyu
Kuye Garment but acknowledged setting fire with
an accomplice to the Niaomo Shijia shop, which
deals in clothing as well as precious metals.

It said that his legal representative Phuntsok
Wangyal appealed for a lighter sentence, but that the appeal was turned down.

It said he was sentenced according to Clause 1,
Articles 57 and 115, of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China.

Before his execution, according to one source,
Lobsang Gyaltsen was permitted a visit with his mother.

"I have nothing to say, except please take good
care of my child and send him to school," he was quoted as telling her.

A local source said Lobsang Gyaltsen’s mother’s
home is now under round-the-clock surveillance.

Rioting rocked Lhasa in March last year and
spread to Tibetan-populated regions of western
China, causing official embarrassment ahead of
the August 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Chinese officials say 21 people -- including
three Tibetan protesters -- died in the violence.

The India-based Tibetan government-in-exile
estimates that 220 Tibetans were killed and 7,000
were detained in a region-wide crackdown.

The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
reported separately that four people were executed on Oct. 24.

A recent Congressional-Executive Commission on
China (CECC) report said that at least 670
Tibetans have been jailed in 2009 for activities
that include peaceful protest or leaking information abroad.

By the end of April 2009, TAR courts had
sentenced 84 Tibetans to punishments ranging from
fixed jail terms to life, as well as to death or
death with a two-year reprieve, in connection
with the 2008 riots, the CECC report said.

The report also detailed a widespread Chinese
"patriotic education" campaign that requires
Tibetan monks and nuns to pass examinations on
political texts, agree that Tibet is historically
a part of China, and denounce the Dalai Lama, the
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Original reporting by Dolkar for RFA’s Tibetan
service.Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written for
the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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