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GANNAN, Gansu - Six ethnic Tibetans were sentenced to three to 12 years in prison for their roles in an October self-immolation case by a local court in northwest China's Gansu Province Thursday.
The Xiahe County People's Court convicted Padma Tamdru, Kelsang Gyamuktso, Padma Co, Lhamo Tamdru of intentional homicide and sentenced them to 12, 11, eight and seven years in jail, respectively.
Two other defendants, Do Gekyap and Yang Monje were convicted of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles" and sentenced to four and three years in prison, respectively.
The court found that Togye Rinchen, a local Tibetan villager, set himself on fire near a shopping center in the county around 3:30 p.m. on October 23, 2012.
After spotting the incident, police officers put out the fire, with Togye Rinchen still showing signs of life.
When the police officers were trying to rescue the self-immolator, Padma Tamdru, with the help of Kelsang Gyamuktso, Padma Co, and Lhamo Tamdru, attacked the officers and hindered their rescue efforts, the court found.
Public security personnel requested a crowd that had gathered there not to hinder police officers' efforts in trying to rescue Togye Rinchen.
Ignoring the requests, the four defendants continued to attack police officers. Togye Rinchen was taken away by Kelsang Gyamuktso and others and later died without receiving timely medical treatment.
The two other defendants, Do Gekyap and Yang Monje, created disturbances near the self-immolation site. Their acts resulted in a crowd gathering, causing a chaotic scene, and disrupting both business in the shopping area and road traffic, the court found.
The verdict was made after an open trial Thursday, which was attended by around 70 people including the defendants' family members and relatives.
Tibetan translators were provided for the trial. During the court hearing, the six defendants and their attorneys, and the prosecutors, all expressed their opinions.
Also on Thursday, the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate People's Court in neighboring Sichuan Province convicted two other Tibetans. One was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and the other to 10 years in prison for inciting eight people to self-immolate, three of whom died. The verdict was announced after an open trial Saturday.
Lorang Konchok, 40, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and has been stripped of his political rights for life. His nephew, Lorang Tsering, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and has been stripped of his political rights for three years, according to the court verdict.
The two incited and coerced eight people to self-immolate, resulting in three deaths, the court found.