Tibetan Lama on Trial for Weapons Charge in China

Respected Tibetan abbot Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche is on trial for weapons charges and will face prison if convicted. From the Associated Press:

The 52-year-old monk could be imprisoned for up to 15 years if found guilty, Li said, adding he was the first senior Buddhist leader to face a serious charge linked to last year’s demonstrations.

[…] Prosecutors allege a pistol and more than 100 bullets and cartridges were found under a bed in Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche’s living room during a police raid, but the monk has denied the allegation, saying he was framed, Li said.

“The charge is untenable,” Li said. “Police didn’t ask him about the source of the weapons or check for fingerprints.”

The monk also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of embezzlement involving a home for the elderly he set up, the lawyer said.

The New York Times also reports on related arrests of nuns in two of the convents the abbot led:

After the Chinese government sent security forces across western China to crack down on the protests last year, the nuns at the two convents in Ganzi were told to sign papers denouncing the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. However, the nuns refused and marched instead, according to Woeser, a prominent Tibetan blogger who has written about the case and who follows the Tibetan tradition of using a single name.

At least a dozen of the nuns have been sentenced for unknown crimes, and six are still being detained, Ms. Woeser said in an interview.


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