Two Tibetan monks sentenced in murder case

Updated: 2011-08-31 06:40


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CHENGDU -  A local court in southwest China's Sichuan Province Tuesday jailed two Tibetan monks for intentional homicide over another monk's death by self-immolation.

Tsering Tenzin and Tenchum of the Kirti Monastery in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture were sentenced to 13 years and 10 years in prison, respectively, according to the verdict from the Maerkang County People's Court in Aba.

The two plotted, instigated and assisted in the self-immolation of fellow monk Rigzin Phuntsog, causing his death, the court found.

Phuntsog set himself on fire on March 16 and was hidden by a third monk for 11 hours. He died the next morning after treatments failed at a local hospital.

Three days before the self-immolation, Tenchum and Dorje, another monk who would be charged in another instance in Phuntsog's death, sent photos of Phuntsog and Tsering Tenzin to a monk living overseas via Internet, proving that the self-immolation was premeditated.

In court, Tsering Tenzin said he became a monk when he was young and committed the crime unaware that it was against the law. He also said he hoped to have a chance for repentance.

Tenchum also expressed his desire to start over.

Both Tsering Tenzin and Tenchum confessed their guilt following the court proceedings.

Some living Buddhas and monks attended the trial.

"Monks can't kill. What they did was against the dharma and against the law," said Yangdron Jamaseng, director of the management committee of the Tsakhor Monastery. "Through the trial, I realized monks not only need to learn scriptures, but they also need to learn the law and obey the law."

"I think the conviction is fair and just. A monk who goes against dharma and against the law should be penalized," said Shilha Lungden, a khenpo at the Mora Monastery in Maerkang County.

Local resident Rampo said a monk should have a merciful heart, and respect the lives of others.

"The convictions served them right," he said.

In a trial Monday, the court sentenced Drongdru, also a Kirti Monastery monk, to 11 years in prison for intentional homicide in Phuntsog's death.

Drongdru was given the sentence because he hid the injured monk and prevented emergency treatment, causing delayed treatment and the subsequent death for his disciple and nephew, according to the verdict.