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China imprisons monks for involvement in protests PDF Print E-mail
[7 November 2012] The Chinese authorities in Tibet have imprisoned 11 monks suspected of being involved in protests in eastern Tibet at the beginning of 2012. Sentences have ranged from two to seven years. There are fears that due legal process was not carried out in any of the cases. The fate of other monks detained at the same time remains unknown.

Six Zilkar monks jailed  I  Five monks from Drango imprisoned

Zilkar monks jailed after protests in February
Six monks from Tridu, eastern Tibet, have been imprisoned following protests in the region in February. It is feared that the trials were held without due legal process.

Sonam Sherab and Sonam YingenTwo monks, Sonam Sherab (45), and Sonam Yignyen (44) (pictured right), were sentenced to two years in prison. They were arrested on 1 September along with three other monks during a raid on the monastery by Chinese security officials. They were sentenced by a Chinese court in Siling city, however details of the trial are not known, including the precise charges, the date of the sentencing and whether or not due legal proces was carried out. The whereabouts and condition of the other three monks, Lobsang Jinpa (30), Tsultrim Kalsang (25), and Ngawang Monlam (30), is not known.

It is suspected the five monks were arrested on suspicion of involvement in protests in the region in February and/or involvement in self-immolations which took place in June. Zilkar monastery is located in Tridu (Chinese: Chenduo) county, Jyekundo (Ch: Yushu) prefecture, Kham (now part of China's Qinghai province).

Tenzin SherabA third Zilkar monk, Tenzin Sherab (28), was detained on 1 October in Zatoe town, Tridu county. He was later sentenced to one year in prison by the Xining Intermediate Peoples Court. Details of the charges are not known, but it is believed to be in connection with the February protests.

Three other monks have been sentenced in connection with the February protests. Sonam Gewa was sentenced to two years while Lobsang Nyima and Lobsang Samten each received sentences of one year and nine months. The date of the trial and exact charges are not known.

The Tridu region remains under strict surveillance with Chinese security personnel reportedly interrogating local Tibetans and placing restrictions on their movement.

Further reading: Tibet Society (6 Sep) I Phayul (16 Oct) I CTA (16 Oct) I
TCHRD (3 Nov) I Phayul (4 Nov)

Five monks imprisoned following January protests in Drango

Five monks from the Drango region in eastern Tibet have received prison sentences of up to seven years. It is believed the sentences are connected to protests in Drango on 23 January which led to Chinese police shooting at the protestors and leaving at least one dead.

The Intermediate Peoples Court in Tridu (Ch: Chengdu) sentenced the monks. However, the their families were not allowed to attend and only received notification after the sentences had been passed. The exact date of the trial is not known, nor are the precise charges. There are fears the trial was held without due legal process.

Tulku Lobsang Tenzin (40), a reincarnated lama and abbot of Gochen Monastery, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Four monks from Drango monastery were also sentenced: Geshe Tsewang Namgya (42), a teacher, Tashi Thupwang (aka Dralha, 31), an accountant, and Geshe Tenzin Palsang aka Tenga, senior caretaker of the monastery, all received six-year sentences; and, Thinlay, the monasterys shop manager, received a five year sentence.

Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, Geshe Tsewang Namgyal, Dralha and Thinlay were detained from an internet cafe in Chengdu in January. Geshe Tenzin Palsang was detained in Drango on 2 April in Drango. No news of their whereabouts was known until news of their sentencing was received recently by their families. Three other Tibetans, Yonten Sangpo, Tashi Dhargye and Namgyal Dhondup remain missing after being detained following the 23 January protest.

The Drango protest came as thousands of Tibetans took to the streets in eastern Tibet in late January in response to China's tightening of security and continued oppression. Hundreds of Tibetans protested in Drango on 23 January. Chinese police responded by firing into the crowd. Three Tibetans were reported to have been killed, though only one was identified, Yonden, a brother of a reincarnate lama from a local monastery. Following the protest Drango monastery was placed under lockdown by Chinese security forces.

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