A Chinese court has unexpectedly delayed the sentencing of living Buddha Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, arrested March 18 during the 2008 Lhasa riots for possession of illegal weapons and seizing government land, possibly due to international attention on the case. Jane Macartney reports for Times Online:
A Chinese court has decided at the last minute to postpone judgment on a Tibetan living Buddha who faces 15 years in jail on charges of possessing illegal weapons and illegally seizing government land.
[…]Legal experts said that such a move was rare for a Chinese court and could indicate that the unusually spirited defence presented in court and the international publicity the case has attracted could have prompted unexpected debate among judicial officials over the sentence.
[…]The monk, the fifth incarnation of a revered Buddhist teacher, known by the title of Burongma, was arrested on March 18 last year, four days after nuns from two religious houses over which he presides took to the streets in demonstrations just as deadly rioting erupted in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.
[…]Phurbu Rinpoche denies possession of the weapon [found in his home] and says that he signed a confession under police duress.