By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Dec 7: As many as ten Tibetans from the restive Ngaba county in traditional Amdo province have been sentenced to up to 14 years by the Intermediate Peoples’ Court in Barkham, Ngaba prefecture, Lobsang Yeshe and Kanyag Tsering, spokespersons of the exile seat of Kirti monastery in Dharamsala said on Dec 6.
Drukdra, a 50-year-old Kirti monk and former political prisoner has received the severest sentence of 14 years. He was arrested from his monastic quarter by the Chinese officials during a night raid at the monastery at the end of November last year on charges of arranging celebrations for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. Drukdra hails from Soruma, in Ngaba county. He was earlier arrested after the Pan-Tibet uprising of 2008 and imprisoned for 1 year and 4 months.
Losang Khedrup, another Kirti monk and former political prisoner was sentenced to 13 years. He was detained late last year for trying to set up a group on Wechat to keep a record of long-life prayers to be offered for the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday. Losang, 44 was previously arrested in 2011 and sentenced to 3 years but was released before his term expired due to poor health. His health improved a bit after a month-long medical treatment, the expenses of which was paid by his family members and associates.
Losang, son of Toli hails from Chukle Gabma area of Ngaba county. He joined Kirti monastery at a young age and was about to complete his Geshe degree (equivalent to a doctorate in philosophy).Losang Gepel, a 29-year-old Kirti monk was arrested from his room at the monastery on the night of November 30th last year and sentenced to 12 years. He was earlier arrested in May 2011 and held in detention for a long time, following which he was sentenced to 3 years. Gephel was released a few months before the completion of his sentence at the end of 2013.
Gephel, son of Urgyen Tsering and Lhamo Kyi hails from nomadic village No.2 of Me’uruma township in Ngaba county. Eldest of 9 siblings, he was ordained at the monastery at a young age. He was the manager of the medical college before his arrest.
Lodroe, another Kirti monk was sentenced to 9 years. He was arrested from the monastery at the end of last year. The 41-year-old son of Dukko from Shongwa village in Andu area of Ngaba county was earlier arrested i 2011 and sentenced to 2 years in prison. He is a famous painter.
Bonko Kyi, a resident of Lhade Gabma was sentenced to 7 years. She was arrested around November 20th last year on suspicion of arranging celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. The 48-year-old, daughter of Yarphel was earlier arrested in 2011 and 2012 and held in detention for few months. Her relatives used various means to get her released, following which she remained under surveillance.
Akyakya, a 35-year-old Tibetan from village No.1 in Me’uruma was sentenced to 5 years. He was earlier arrested in 2011 and imprisoned to 3 years for demonstrating at the time of Losang Puntsok’s self-immolation protest. The reason behind his latest arrest and sentence remain unknown. Akyakya, son of Dungmo is a former Kirti monk.
There were reports of three more arrests but detailed information about them are not known as of now apart from their names and sentence terms. The three have been identified as Tarey, sentenced to 8 years; Tsendra, sentenced to 8 years and Tsultrim, sentenced to 6 years.
Though almost all of them were arrested by the end of last year, their whereabouts have remained unknown until reports of their sentencing were known.