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Two young monks sentenced to prison for staging peaceful protests in Tibet

Lobsang Gyatso
Lobsang Gyatso

Two young Tibetan monks from Kirti Monastery were convicted and sentenced by the Intermediate People’s Court in Barkham (Ch: Ma’erkang) in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, for “protesting the Chinese nation”. Both monks had independently staged solo protests.

Lobsang Tenpa is 19 years old and was sentenced to two years in prison. On 26 April 2014, he walked alone down the main road in Ngaba County town with a portrait of the Dalai lama. He shouted slogans calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Lobsang Tenpa was sentenced on 7 November 2014. In the months between his arrest and his conviction, Lobsang Tenpa was beaten and tortured. His parents were allowed to observe his trial but were prevented from hiring a defense lawyer. It is unknown where Lobsang Tenpa will serve his prison sentence.

Lobsang Tenpa
Lobsang Tenpa

Lobsang Gyatso is 20 years old and sentenced to three years in prison. On 2 April this year, he had walked down the main raod in Ngaba County town and shouted slogans calling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet and freedom in Tibet. He was carrying a handmade Tibetan flag. Lobsang Gyatso managed to escape police attention and returned to Kirti Monastery. On 15 April 2014, 13 days after his solo-protest, the police arrested Lobsang Gyatso from his monastery. He was taken to an undisclosed location where he was interrogated and tortured. The exact date of Lobsang Gyatso’s sentencing is unknown. His family was prohibited from hiring a lawyer to defend Lobsang Gyatso but were invited to observe his trial.

Lobsang Gyatso and Lobsang Tenpa were classmates at Kirti Monastery. Chinese officials have imposed harsh policies at Kirti Monastery, which is the one of the largest monasteries in Amdo Province in eastern Tibet. In 2012, a 600-person education committee imposed a patriotic re-education campaign at Kirti Monastery. During the campaign people were prohibited from entering or leaving the monastery, which the Chinese officials treated to close. On 16 March 2014, Lobsang Palden, a monk from Kirti Monastery, committed a self-immolation protest. In his farewell note, Lobsang Palden called for love and harmony to prevail.

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