Chinese courts have ordered four Tibetan men jailed to between seven and 11 years after accusing them of supporting a self-immolation protest and of leaking news of protests against Chinese rule to “outside contacts,” according to Tibetan sources.
The youngest of the four who were jailed were monks from the restive Kirti monastery in Ngaba county in China’s Sichuan province, India-based Tibetan monks Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshi said, citing sources in the region.
During the first week of September, a Chinese court sentenced Kirti monk Lobsang Tsultrim, 19, to 11 years in prison, and fellow monk Lobsang Jangchub, 17, to an eight-year term, Tsering and Yeshi said.
“They were detained at the end of March of this year, and were taken to an unknown location. Their whereabouts were unknown for over five months,” they said.
The two young monks were suspected of helping with the protest of a fellow Kirti monk, Gepe, 18, who died after setting himself ablaze on March 10 in a challenge to Chinese rule, Tsering and Yeshi said, adding that details on where the two were tried and where they are now being held are still unknown.
Lobsang Tsultrim comes from the Dzampa family of Soruma village in the Choejema subdivision of Ngaba county, while Lobsang Jangchub is the son of Rinchen Pal of the Paltang family of Nagtsangma village in the county’s Cha subdivision, they said.
Gepe’s protest was the 27th of the now 52 self-immolations to have taken place since February 2009 challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas and calling for the return to Tibet of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Separately, a court in Sichuan’s Barkham (in Chinese, Ma’erkang) county sentenced a monk and a layman to long prison terms for “leaking news from inside Tibet to outside contacts,” Tsering and Yeshe said, citing local sources.
“On Sept. 18, the Barkham People’s Middle Court handed a seven-year prison term to Kirti monk Lobsang Tashi. He is 26 years old, and his mother’s name is Tsokjoma and his family’s name is Kune,” Tsering and Yeshe said.
Tashi was detained in November 2011, and was held with no word given to his family for nine months, they said.
The court also sentenced a layman, Bu Thubdor, 25, who was also detained in November, to a seven-and-a-half year term on the same charge, Tsering and Yeshe said.
“Two days before their trial, their family members were sent a notice by the court that the trial was about to begin, but they were not allowed to hire a lawyer for their defense,” they said.
“Afterward, they were given only a few minutes to meet with their family.”
They are now thought to be held in Sichuan’s Mianyang prison, Tsering and Yeshe said.
Reported by Rigdhen Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.