Two monks of Ngaba Kirti monastery in eastern Tibet have been sentenced to three years in prison on July 15 by a Chinese court, sources in exile confirm.
Lobsang Khedup, 39 was arrested on May 4 from the monastery while Lobsang Gyatso, 36 was arrested on May 9. The monks were held incommunicado for nearly two months before they were presented before the court.
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Dharamshala based rights group in a release yesterday said that the charges under which they were arrested and sentenced remain unclear.
Following the self immolation and death of Phuntsog, a young Kirti monk on March 16, Chinese authorities employed a series of violent crackdowns on the monastery leading to death, disappearances, mass arrests and forced removal of monks.
A monk from the exile seat of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala told phayul that on April 21 upon hearing the news of another wave of mass arrest in the monastery, Lobsang Khedup and Lobsang Gyatso along with many other monks gathered in the main cathedral and urged the Chinese authorities to stop the arrests.
“Lobsang Khedup and Lobsang Gyatso resisted the arrest of their fellow monks and told the Chinese authorities that ‘if you are going to arrest our monks then you must arrest all of us’”, the monk told phayul.
Currently, the sentenced monks are being held in a prison in the Mein-Yang area of eastern Tibet.
The military siege in Kirti monastery and the Ngaba region has once again raised a pointed finger at China’s failing human rights record and led to many mass demonstrations and diplomatic protests condemning China’s actions. His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a recent interview with NBC’s Today Show expressed his deep sadness over the appalling human rights situation in Tibet. “Every week some people get arrested and severely tortured in Tibet, Very very sad. Very sad”.
Meanwhile, activists of the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association (STFA) and Tibetan Youth Association Europe (TYAE) mounted a campaign in various Swiss cities July 20 protesting China’s military actions in Kirti monastery.
Highlighting the case of the 300 missing monks of Kirti monastery who were forcibly removed on April 21, protesting which the monks Lobsang Khedup and Lobsang Gyatso were arrested, the activists hung Tibetan monk cowls all across the country.
The deep maroon and yellow monk cowls, symbolic of the missing Kirti monks carried an appeal urging its readers to send an online petition to the Swiss Federal Council, demanding them to address the issue of Kirti with the Chinese Government.