10/23/2009, 00.00
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Lhasa: Chinese authorities execute four Tibetans

The four men had been convicted on 8 April, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. China’s crackdown against ethnic Tibetans continues relentless following unrest on 14 March last year.
Lhasa (AsiaNews) – The Intermediate People’s Court in Lhasa sentenced four Tibetans to death last Tuesday. Lobsang Gyaltsen, Loyak, Penkyi and a fourth unnamed man were found guilty on 8 April of involvement in mass protests in the city last year. The sentence was carried out immediately. Municipal authorities followed and approved of the decision.

Chinese media did not report the news, which was brought to public attention by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)

According to sources, the dead body of Lobsang Gyaltsen, from Lubug on the outskirt of Lhasa, was handed over to his family and later immersed in Kyichu River.

There is no information on whether the defendants appealed their sentences to the Supreme People’s Court.

Originally, official sources had reported that only two of the accused, Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak, had been sentenced to death.

At the same trial, Thenzin Phuntsok Kangtsuk got a suspended death penalty, whilst a fifth man, Dawa Sangpo, got life in prison.

All five were charged with setting fire to a number of stores in Lhasa, causing the death of seven people, during the 14 March 2008 riots.

On 21 April of this year, the same court convicted three other Tibetans, Chime, Penkyi (from Nyemo County) and Pekyi (a namesake from Sakye County) and sentenced them respectively to death (suspended), life and 10 years in prison.

The TCHRD said it was “very concerned” by the fate of others waiting trial because China executes more people than any other country in the world combined.

For the human rights group, Beijing should show restraint and guarantee a fair trial to all its citizens and ethnic groups. What is more, for the TCHRD the death penalty “has never been shown to have a special deterrent effect,” and even though  state media might say that offenders "have to be executed to assuage the people's anger,” this is “in no way a justification” for imposing the “death sentence”.

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