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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

TCHRD Press Release -- A Tibetan sentenced to suspended death sentence

February 28, 2010

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
TCHRD/ENG/2010/003
February 26, 2010

A Tibetan sentenced to suspended death sentence,
two others to life and 16 years in prison in Nyarong

The Kardze Intermediate People?s Court has
sentenced three Tibetans from Nyarong County (Ch:
Xinlong xian) to varying prison terms, according
to confirmed information received by the Tibetan
Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Three Tibetans; Pema Yeshi, 28, Sonam Gonpo, 24,
and Tsewang Gyatso a.k.a Tsok Tsok, 32, all from
Thangkyi Township, Nyarong County, Kardze
?Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture? (?TAP?) Sichuan
Province, were sentenced by the Kardze
Intermediate People?s Court on 17 November 2009
to two-year suspended death sentence, life
imprisonment and 16 years term respectively on
charges of ?inciting separatism? and ?disturbing social order.?

The news of their arrest was reported in the
Ganzi Daily, the local official newspaper dated
18 March 2009. According to the report, ?three
Tibetans accused were arrested on 11 March 2009
under suspicion of pasting and distributing
pamphlets calling for Tibet independence on roads
of Thangkyi Township, Nyarong County and setting
fire to the Thangkyi Township government building
causing damages worth around 200,000 yuan to the
government on 28 February 2009.?

According to sources, for the next five months
since their arrest, information on their
whereabouts and conditions remained completely
unknown to their family members. The family
members came to know about their detention at
Chengdu Public Security Bureau (PSB) Detention
Centre only around August last year five months after their arrests.

On 17 November 2009, the Kardze Intermediate
People?s Court sentenced the three to varying
prison terms. However, the family members were
informed by the local officials about their court
verdict only around 10 December 2009. It can be
well presumed that the accused were completely
denied even the basic legal rights guaranteed
under the Chinese laws as circumstances leading
towards their indictment points to a secret trial
with no representation of their choice.

Both Sonam Gonpo and Tsewang Gyatso work as cook
at the Thangkyi Primary School in Thangkyi
Township, Nyarong County. They are currently
known to be detained at a PSB Detention Centre in
Deyang City, Sichuan Province, whereas Pema
Yeshi, a farmer from Thangkyi township sentenced
to two years suspended death sentence is known to
be detained at Dartsedo (Ch: Kangding) PSB
Detention Centre, Sichuan Province. The three
were actively involved in the ?Farming Boycott
Movement? and ?No Losar? movement undertaken by
Tibetans inside Tibet last year to mourn the
death of Tibetans and to show solidarity with
other Tibetans who continued to remain in prison.

According to the Centre's documentation, there
are hundreds of Tibetans who are still held
without any charges and at least 334 Tibetans
were known to have been sentenced by courts at
various levels to varying prison terms ranging
from few months to death sentence. In almost all
the known cases the defendants had no independent
legal counsel and in a few cases where the
defendants were being represented by a lawyer of
choice, the authorities ensured that these
representations were blocked either through
intimidation or through procedural tactics.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
(TCHRD) condemns in strongest term over the
arbitrary nature of their court sentences where
trials were held in complete secrecy without the
knowledge of their family members. The Centre
urges the Chinese government to reverse the
verdict imposed by Kardze Intermediate People?s
Court and ensure free and fair trial to the three
Tibetans. The Centre appeals to the international
community to intervene in the unfair and harsh
sentencing of the three Tibetans.
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