According to the New York Times, a chinese court sentenced two Tibetan monks to long prison terms in the case of the death of another monk.
Rigzin Phuntsog, a young 16-year-old monk set himself on fire in March. The event was reportedly in protest of government policies in Tibet. Phuntsog died of his injuries after he was hidden by other monks and delayed medical treatment.
This week, a local court has just sentenced the three monks allegedly involved in Phuntsog’s death.
The court sentenced monks, Tsering Tenzin and Tenchum to 13 and 10 years in prison. According to China Daily, the two monks ‘plotted, instigated and assisted’ the self-immolation of Phuntsog. The two monks are of the Kirti Monastery in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
China Daily also reported that three days before Phuntsog’s self-immolation, Tenchum and another monk named Dorje
sent photos of Phuntsog and Tsering Tenzin to a monk living overseas. This reportedly proved the move was premeditated.
The two sentences follow Monday’s in which, a monk, Drongdru, was found guilty of intentional homicide of the young monk—Phuntsog was reportedly his nephew and disciple– and was slapped with an 11 year sentence.
According to the Los Angeles Times, tensions at the monasteries are partly blamed on Chinese authorities who, since 2008, have reportedly forced monks to attend “patriotic education” sessions in which they are ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama and pledge their allegiance to China.