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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetan gets suspended death sentence for riots

May 30, 2010

(AP) ? May 27, 2010

BEIJING ? A court in Lhasa has given a Tibetan a suspended death
sentence for taking part in riots that erupted in the remote Himalayan
region 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.

Rioting that broke out in Lhasa on March 14, 2008, left 22 people dead
and led to the most sustained Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in
decades.

Beijing says the demonstrations were part of a violent campaign
organized by the Dalai Lama and his supporters to throw off Chinese rule
in Tibet and sabotage the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet 50 years ago amid an uprising against
Chinese rule, has denied the charge and says he seeks only significant
autonomy for Tibet under continued Chinese rule.

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.

A female Tibetan staff member who answered the phone at the Communist
Party Propaganda Office in Lhasa said she didn't know about the case.
She gave her name as Sola ? many Tibetans use just one name.

Two women reached by phone at the Lhasa court said they had not heard
about the case. Both refused to give their names.
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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