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Tibet-prison-2012-china.jpgDharamshala: Two of the five Tibetan monks arrested last month have each been sentenced to two-year prison terms by an Intermediate People's Court in Siling city (Chinese: Xining - the capital of Qinghai province and the largest city on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau) in Amdho region of north-eastern Tibet.

Sonam Sherab (45) and Sonam Yignyen (44) were arrested on 1 October 2012 during a Chinese police raid at Nyatso Zilkar Monastery in Kyegudho County, Kham region, eastern Tibet.

The two Buddhist monks were probably imprisoned last week, according to Lobsang Sangyal - a monk living in exile but orginally from Kyigudho, who cited sources from inside Tibet. The monks were reportedly detained last month for sharing information with the outside world about protests including a recent self-immolation close to the monastery.

Sonam Sherab was arrested for photographing Chinese armed police and troops, but it remains unclear on what charges the three other monks were detained or where they are being held.

During the China police's raid on the monastery, several monks who complained about the detention and beating of their colleagues were also severely beaten.

These latest sentencings mark a continuation of the Chinese authorities' crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals and those who send information on the Tibet situation outside of Tibet.

A court in Barkham county, northeastern Tibet, has also sentenced a monk and a layman to long prison terms for "leaking news from inside Tibet to outside contacts". On September 18, the Barkham People's Middle Court sentenced Lonsand Tashi, a monk from Kirti monastery, to seven years in prison. Tashi (26) was detained in November 2011. Bu Thubdor (25) a layman who was also detained in November was sentenced to seven and a half years on the same charge.

Yonten Gyatso, a monk from Khashi monastery, Ngaba county, Amdho region of north-eastern Tibet, who was 'disappeared' in October 2011 was sentenced to seven years in prison on 18 June 2012 for disseminating information about the situation in Tibet. According to sources inside Tibet, he was transferred to a prison in Wenjiang, Tridu city, where he was brutally tortured and kept in a dark room.

Three monks from Natso Zilkar monastery, Tridu county, Yulshul, eastern Tibet (Chinese: Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province) Sonam Gewa - Lobsang Samtem and Lobsang Nyima - were given jail sentences in March this year following similar charges.

The Paris-based international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the Chinese government's frequent arrests of Tibetan monks who try to inform the international community about the way they are persecuted.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, also condemned the Chinese government, saying that China has imposed various restrictions on Tibet, mainly targeting Tibetan Intellectuals in the Himalayan region. "At least 24 Tibetans intellectuals, including monks, men and women, have been given sentences ranging from few months to life imprisonment for excising their freedom of expression," he said.