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30 april 2012 001Dharamshala: Months after their arbitrary detention and disappearance, five Tibetan monks from Drakgo Monastery have been sentenced to varying terms of six to seven years in prison for their alleged involvement in 23 January 2012 protest in Drango (Ch: Luhuo) County of Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

According to a report by India based Tibetan Center for Human Rights Democracy, Tulku Lobsang Tenzin, 40, a reincarnated lama and abbot of Gochen Monastery was sentenced to seven years in prison. Drakgo Monastery's teacher Geshe Tsewang Namgyal, 42, and accountant Tashi Thupwang aka Dralha, 31, were sentenced to six years. The monastery's shop manager Thinlay was sentenced to five years. Geshe Tenzin Palsang aka Tenga, senior caretaker of the monastery, was sentenced to six years.

Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, along with Geshe Tsewang Namgyal, Dralha and Thinlay were detained from an Internet café in Chengdu in late January. Since then, they had remained disappeared for about ten months until their recent sentencing.

Geshe Tenzin Palsang was detained on 2 April in Drango and since then had remained disappeared until his sentencing.

The family members and relatives of the monks said an Intermediate People's Court in Tridu (Ch: Chengdu) city passed the sentence. The news of the sentencing reached the family after about 15 days, sources told TCHRD. No details are available on the exact charges used to pass the sentences.

Three known Tibetans, Yonten Sangpo, Tashi Dhargye and Namgyal Dhondup remain missing after their detention following the 23 January protest in Drakgo.

Chinese security forces engaged in disproportionate use of force to suppress the 23 January protest by shooting unarmed protesters. Six known Tibetans died and 43 sustained serious injuries.

To date, over 36 Tibetans have been sentenced to varying prison terms from life imprisonment to one year and eight months.

Sources say since the appointment of a new party secretary in Kardze, a new policy has been introduced under which special cadres have been assigned the work of monitoring the activities of Tibetans in Kardze Prefecture. Each cadre has been given the responsibility to prevent self-immolation, preempt public gatherings and stem ‘leaking state secrets' to outsiders.

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