Chinese Court Sentences Tibetan Monk To Death For Inciting Self-Immolations; His Nephew Gets 10-Year Jail Term

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By Amrutha Gayathri | January 31, 2013 10:12 PM EST

A Chinese court Thursday convicted a Tibetan monk and his nephew of intentional homicide for inciting a series of self-immolations, state media reported.

Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba County, Sichuan, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for provoking eight people to set themselves on fire, three of whom died, since 2009, Xinhua news agency reported.  He has been stripped of his political rights for life.

A death sentence with a two-year reprieve is effectively commuted to life imprisonment or reduced to a fixed-term later.

The monk’s nephew, Lorang Tsering, 31, who was found guilty of helping to recruit volunteers, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will be denied his political rights for three years.

The court said that Lorang Konchok had maintained a long-term and close contact with Samtan, a 31-year-old former monk at the Kirti Monastery and now a media liaison member of the India-based organization for Tibetan Independence.

The convicts recorded personal and family information and captured pictures of suicides and passed it on Samtan. The information was used by foreign media as a basis for creating secessionist propaganda, according to the court.

Self-immolations against the Chinese rule in Tibet saw a steep increase in recent years with 99 self-immolations recorded since 2009, according to the Tibet-government-in-exile in India. At least 83 of them have died from these self-inflicted injuries.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says the Chinese government was resorting to blaming the Tibetans for self-immolations instead of addressing the reason behind them.

China calls the Tibetan self-immolators terrorists and reportedly released a documentary in May accusing the Dalai Lama of orchestrating a wave of self-immolations by the Tibetans.

The exiled administration denies the Chinese accusations that the Dalai Lama or other exiled Tibetan monks are responsible for inciting the protests. The Dalai Lama has been living in exile in northern Indian town of Dharamshala since 1959, after fleeing a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in Tibet.

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