11/28/2014, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Tibetans sentenced to 13 years for protesting against police role in Drango massacre

A group of ten people was recently convicted on charges of "subverting state power" for demanding justice in connection with an incident during the Chinese New Year in 2012, when police fired on Tibetan protesters, killing at least five people.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Tibet's Communist authorities convicted ten Tibetans for protesting against police brutality after the latter fired on unarmed civilians in Drango County in 2012. Sentences range between 10 and 13 years in prison without possibility of appeal, this according to Tibetan language newspaper Phayul.

Paldor, Namgyal, Sonam and Tashi Dhargay were sentenced to 13 years in prison; Nyma and Chunhey received a 12-year sentence; Kuntho and Ogyen Tsering, 11 years; and Sherab Sangpo and Thinlay Dhargay, 10 years. All the prisoners have been held in Ranga prison.

The incident goes back to 23 January 2012, the first day on the Chinese New Year, when hundreds of Tibetans took to the streets in Drango demanding freedom for Tibet and the return from exile of the Dalai Lama.

Protesters also expressed "love and solidarity" for their compatriots who self-immolated for the Tibetan cause and called for "new boycott actions" during the Tibetan New Year.

Called to the scene, local Chinese Public Security Bureau officials began to arrest people arbitrarily. As protesters resisted, security forces retaliated by firing indiscriminately into the unarmed crowd, killing at least five and injuring several others.

When the military arrived, clashes stopped. At least 400 people were arrested and detained incommunicado for weeks. Ten of them were recently convicted on charges of subverting state power because they demanded justice for the victims of the New Year incident.

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