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Defiant monk jailed for five years PDF Print E-mail
[9 September 2014] Jigme Guri, a monk from Labrang monastery renowned for speaking up against China's oppressive policies in Tibet, has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for "splittist activities". Jigme Guri has been in detention since August 2011. The exact reason for his arrest is still not known.

Jigme GuriOn 5 September, a court in Lanzhou, Gansu province, found Jigme Guri guilty of "actions to split the nation", according to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia. Splittism is a charge used by the Chinese authorities against Tibetans who express their national identity or who challenge the policies or rule of the Chinese government in Tibet. Further details of the charges against Jigme Guri are not known. The current condition and location of Jigme Guri are also not known.

This was the second trial faced by Jigme Guri since his detention in August 2011. Early in 2012, a trial was held where Jigme's crime was said to be suspicion of instigating anti-nationalist separatism. However, the outcome of this trial remains unclear. Two Chinese lawyers appointed by his family were prevented from representing Jigme.

There are fears that Jigme Guri did not receive due process in either trial. Tibetans charged with political crimes often are tried in secret, are not allowed independent legal representation and evidence against them is often extracted by torture.

Jigme GuriJigme Guri is a 47 year-old monk from Labrang monastery in Labrang (or Sangchu, Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Gansu province). Also known as Jigme Gyatso and Labrang Jigme, he was detained on 20 August 2011 by the Chinese authorities. On 1 January 2012 it was announced he had been charged with "splittist activities". In August 2012 news emerged of the trial held earlier that year. Since then there had been no information on Jigme's case or his whereabouts until news of the sentencing was received.

In November 2011, Jigme was allowed a visit by his brother during which time he reiterated his innocence. Jigme said, If you think that I am a criminal, send me to court for a trial. If I really committed a crime, well then I will gladly accept my sentence, even if it is the death sentence."

Jigme Guri has been detained three times previously. In 2006, he was detained after attending a religious ceremony in India led by the Dalai Lama. He was held for a month before being released without charge.

In 2008, Jigme was arrested following protests by fellow monks at Labrang monastery. During his month-long detention, he was tortured and had to be hospitalised.

In 2010, the Chinese authorities held him without charge for six months for "political re-education".

Following his release from detention in 2008, Jigme recorded a 20-minute video statement (watch below) about his ill-treatment and the Chinese government's crackdown in Tibet.

In the video, Jigme says, I, as a witness to truth, am telling through the media the story of Tibetans killed, who have suffered torture in prisons, and about the countless people who have been forced to flee to the mountains and who are too afraid to return to their own homes, so that the media can truthfully report on these situations.

Further reading: RFA (8 Sept 2014)
Background: Tibet Society (17 October 2012) I Tibet Society (25 August 2011)

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