8 Tibetans convicted in self-immolation cases

8 Tibetans convicted in self-immolation cases

Eight Tibetans have been convicted in connection with the deaths of four people who had been persuaded to set themselves on fire.

In two separate cases, six were found guilty of murder while two were jailed on less serious charges.

Lorang Konchok, 40, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and his nephew, Lorang Tsering, 31, was jailed for 10 years after they were convicted by a court in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The two incited and coerced eight people to self-immolate, resulting in three deaths, the Intermediate People's Court of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba found.

Of the eight, three set themselves on fire and died last year. The other five either abandoned their plans or police intervened in time.

Lorang Konchok, a monk in Aba's Kirti Monastery, used his status as a "geshe," or high-level Tibetan religious scholar, to convince monks and others to self-immolate, the court found.

It said he sent information regarding self-immolations to Samtan, a member of an overseas "Kirti Monastery media liaison team" - a "Tibet independence" organization - which was used by some overseas media as propaganda.

Lorang Konchok had pled guilty and showed repentance during the trial, which led to his punishment being mitigated, the court said.

Lorang Tsering, who admitted a secondary role, had also shown repentance, leading to a lighter sentence.

Six other Tibetans were jailed for their roles in a self-immolation in October by a court in northwest China's Gansu Province. The Xiahe County People's Court convicted Padma Tamdru, Kelsang Gyamuktso, Padma Co and Lhamo Tamdru of murder and sentenced them to 12, 11, 8 and 7 years in jail, respectively.

Two others, Do Gekyap and Yang Monje, were convicted of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" and sentenced to four and three years, respectively.

The court heard the first four attacked police trying to rescue Togye Rinchen, who had set himself on fire. While the other two created a disturbance, they took the man away and he later died, the court found.