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26march20106Dharamshala-  A Chinese Intermediate People's court in Sichuan Province has sentenced a Tibetan monk to seven years in prison and deprivation of political rights for one year, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). The monk, called Ngagchung, has been incommunicado since his arrest in 2008.

He and two other monks from Larung Gar Buddhist Institute of Serthar were taken into custody on suspicion of leaking information to Tibetan ‘separatist forces' outside during the height of the anti-occupation protests in 2008. Ngagchung’s two companions, Taphun and Gudrak, were released after interrogation, but Ngagchung has remained in captivity at various locations outside Chengdu since his arrest. He has not been allowed to contact or receive visits from his family.

TCHRD, an internationally recognized human rights group, has expressed public concern about the legality and fairness of Ngagchung’s trial and incarceration. Chinese authorities have released no information about the exact date of the trial, the evidence against Ngagchung or the charges under which he was convicted. It remains unclear whether he received any of the legal rights guaranteed under the Chinese constitution and international laws. TCHRD has urged the international community to act on Ngagchung’s behalf since the right to fair trial is one of the principles recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948, a document with remains the cornerstone of the international human rights system.

Ngagchung is currently being held at Ya'An, a prison on the periphery of Chengdu city. He is the nephew of the late Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, a highly -respected Tibetan Buddhist teacher who founded the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Sertha County, Kardze, where Ngagchung studied Buddhist philosophy for more than 20 years before his arrest.

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