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8 Tibetans sentenced in immolation hearings

By Xinhua in Gannan, Gansu | China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-01 07:28

Six ethnic Tibetans were sentenced to three to 12 years in prison by a local court in Gansu province on Thursday for their roles in an October self-immolation case.

The Xiahe County People's Court also convicted four people of intentional homicide and sentenced them. Padma Tamdru received 12 years in prison; Kelsang Gyamuktso, 11 years; Padma Co, eight years; and Lhamo Tamdru, seven years.

Two other defendants were convicted of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles". Do Gekyap was sentenced to four years in prison and Yang Monje to three years.

The court found that Togye Rinchen, a local Tibetan villager, set himself on fire near a shopping center in the county around 3:30 pm on Oct 23.

After spotting the incident, police officers put out the fire, and Togye Rinchen still showed 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 to try 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 reached after an open trial on Thursday, which was attended by around 70 people, including the defendants' family members and relatives. Tibetan translators were provided for the trial.

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 on 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.

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