Dharamshala — Stepping up its severely crackdown against Tibetans in Tibet, a senior Tibetan monk has been given a two year sentence for inciting "separatism" after Chinese police found banned photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his mobile phone, during a raid.
Gomar Choephel, 47-year-old Tibetan monk from Rongwo monastery in Rebgong County was sentenced by a Chinese Intermediate People's Court in in Malho, Amdo, north-eastern Tibet, for 'activities intended to split the motherland, on February 17," Tenzin, a Tibetan living in Europe told TPI.
"Ven Choephel has been sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly keeping images of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his mobile phone, and sharing them to his friends," Tibetan with close contacts in the area told TPI.
Ven Choephel, as he is known because of his native village Gomar and a monk of Rongwo monastery in Rebgong County in Malho, Amdo, north-eastern Tibet (Ch: Tongren County in Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province) was detained on July 10, 2015.
After his arrest, his family and relatives had expressed concern about his whereabouts and safety as there was no information available about him. "The Chinese authorities had not given any reason for his arrest," the Tibetan said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
However details of the trial are not known, including the precise charges and whether or not due legal process was carried out.
Choephel was born in Gomar Village in Nyenthog Township in Rebgong County in Eastern Tibet. He joined the Thoesam Norling College at Rongwo Monastery at a young age.
Tibetans are forced to denounce their beloved spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and his photographs are banned. Arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and torture are common occurrences daily in almost all parts of Tibet for maintaining loyalty with their religion and culture identity.
Two senior monks have been arbitrarily arrested for holding a prayer ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Karze County, Kham Province of Tibet (Ch: Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan). The arrests come amid Chinese authorities' efforts to suppress the prayer gathering in the region. Chinese authorities announced on January 31 that all Dalai Lama photos were "illegal publications" and ordered them to be handed over before February 2.