09/16/2013, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Tibet: monks sentenced to four years for "unauthorised political activities"

They were convicted after spending one year of pre-trial detention. Other religious were also arrested in the raid, but they were released after signing a statement in which they undertook not to engage in any kind of political activity. Increasingly, the authorities have been clamping down on the ​​ Wonpo.

Lhasa (AsiaNews) - A court in Kardze, a Tibetan county in the Chinese province of Sichuan, convicted three Buddhist monks arrested last year during a raid by police.

The three, Choedar, Sonam Gonpo and Sonam Choedar, have been in prison for several months. Until recently, their fate was unknown.

The sentences range from three to four years in prison for "unauthorised political activities," the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported.

On 9 September, the court convicted Choedar (47 years old) who had been arrested with two other monks, Kyapey (27 years) and Lobsang Mithrug (25 years).

The latter were later released but deprived political right for three years after they signed a statement in which they pledged not to "engage in any kind of political activity."

On 11 September, Sonam Gonpo (22 years) and Sonam Choedar (22 years) were sentenced to four years. Four other monks were also on trial with but they too were released.

All three convicted monks are from Wonpo, an area under special monitoring by the authorities since anti-Chinese riots broke out in 2008.

The monks are from a local monastery that refused for months to fly the Chinese flag and offered protection and hospitality to political activists wanted by the Communist police.

A woman from the area, Tri Lhamo, died after she set herself on fire demanding freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama.

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