01/31/2013, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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China condemns Tibetan monk to death for "instigating" self immolations

Lorang Konchok, 40, has also lost his political rights. With him, his nephew also condemned to 10 years in prison. Sichuan court declares them guilty of murder in eight cases of self-immolation, three of them fatal.

Lhasa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Tibetan monk has been sentenced to death today by a Chinese court in Sichuan province for having instigated eight people to self immolation. Besides him, the court also sentenced another Tibetan - the monk's nephew - to 10 years in prison. The two are accused of murder. As reported by the state news agency Xinhua, 130 people attended the reading of the verdict.

For now, the court has suspended the death penalty imposed on Lorang Konchok , 40, for two years which could be commuted to life imprisonment. However, the Chinese authorities have revoked the monk's political rights for life. His nephew, Lorang Tsering, 30, will serve "only" 10 years in prison, because he acted on Konchok's orders. His political rights were suspended for three years.

According to the judges, members of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala and foreign media cooperated with Lorang Konchok to spread the news of self-immolations, which the Chinese regime has always sought to silence. The man is a Geshe Lama of Kirti monastery, to which many monks who have self-immolated belonged.

Since 2009 alone, at least 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule and call for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

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