04/08/2009, 00.00
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Two Tibetans sentenced to death over riots in Lhasa

They are the first death sentences over the incidents last year. Two more have been sentenced to death, but their sentence has been suspended for two years. A fifth has been sentenced to life in prison.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A court in Lhasa has sentenced two Tibetans to death for the riots that took place in Lhasa in March of 2008. The accusation is that they set fire to shops owned by Chinese, causing their death. Their names are Losang Gyaltse and Loyar. Another two Tibetans - Gangtsu and Tenzin Phuntsog - have been condemned to death, but their sentence has been suspended for two years. A fifth - Dawa Sangpo - will instead be sentenced to life in prison.

In March of 2008, some of the protests in Lhasa and other Chinese territories inhabited by Tibetans degenerated into clashes with the army and the Chinese population. According to the government of Beijing, 19 people died, all of them Chinese. According to the Tibetan government in exile, at least 200 people died, most of them Tibetan young people.

A few weeks ago, Tibetans commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and also recalled the victims of the riots last year, in a Lhasa under martial law.

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