Two Tibetans were sentenced to death for their part in the 2008 Lhasa riots, Chinese media reported. According to the Chinese-appointed court, the two rioters were responsible for the death of 21 people.
REUTERS - A Tibet court has sentenced two people to death for their part in riots last year, China's state media said Wednesday, in the harshest sentences yet reported over the deadly unrest.
Two others were given suspended death sentences while another was sentenced to life imprisonment, said the report, which quoted a spokesman for the intermediate court in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.
Fierce anti-China riots broke out in Lhasa in March last year and spread across Tibet and adjacent areas with Tibetan populations, prompting a massive Chinese security crackdown that has remained in place since.
Xinhua said the crimes committed by the five defendants resulted in seven deaths and the destruction of five shops in Lhasa.
It said the court was still hearing a separate arson case that led to another five deaths.
China has said "rioters" were responsible for 21 deaths, while saying that its security forces had killed only one "insurgent."
However, the exiled Tibetan government headed by the Dalai Lama has said more than 200 Tibetans were killed in China's subsequent crackdown.
China regularly responds to criticism of the crackdown by mentioning those it says were killed by rioters, particularly the arson deaths.
In February, Xinhua reported that Chinese authorities had handed down court sentences ranging from three years to life in prison to a total of 76 people over the riots.
Date created : 2009-04-08