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China jails Tibetan monk in immolation case

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-29

A Chinese court has sentenced a Tibetan monk to 11 years in jail for hiding a fellow monk who died hours after setting himself on fire, Xinhua news agency reported Monday. The monk's death had triggered protests and prompted a security clampdown.

REUTERS - A court in southwest China sentenced a Tibetan monk to 11 years in jail for "intentional homicide" for hiding a fellow monk and preventing him from getting treatment after he set himself on fire, state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.

Overseas rights groups say that the monk, named Rigzin Phuntsog, immolated himself in March to protest against government controls on the restive region of Tibet.

His death triggered protests in Aba, a mainly ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that erupted in defiance against Chinese control three years ago.

The court in Aba said monk Drongdru "was given the sentence because he hid the injured monk and prevented emergency treatment, causing the 16-year-old's death due to belated treatment", Xinhua cited the court as saying.

"Drongdru ... pled guilty to the murder charge and said he felt very regretful over the hiding and prevention of emergency treatment and asked for leniency. Drongdru said at the court room that he would not appeal against the verdict," Xinhua said.

The trial was attended by around 100 local residents, including senior Buddhist clergy, the news agency added.

"Phuntsog, a disciple and nephew of Drongdru, set himself on fire on March 16 and was hidden for 11 hours. He died the next morning after treatments failed at a local hospital," the report said.

Two other monks will stand trial on Tuesday charged with "plotting, instigating and assisting" in the self-immolation, Xinhua said.

At least three Tibetan monks have immolated themselves in China since 2009.

In March 2008, Tibetan protests led by monks in Tibetan capital Lhasa were suppressed by police and turned violent.

Rioters torched shops and turned on residents, especially Han Chinese, whom many Tibetans see as intruders threatening their culture.

That unrest spilled over into other ethnic Tibetan parts of China, including mountainous western Sichuan.


Date created : 2011-08-29


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