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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Court rejects appeal from Tibetan environmentalist

August 5, 2010

The Associated Press (AP)
August 2, 2010

BEIJING -- A court in northwest China has
rejected an appeal from a Tibetan
environmentalist who was sentenced to 15 years in
prison on charges of grave robbing and dealing in
looted antiquities, his lawyer said Monday.

The charges against Karma Samdrup -- named
philanthropist of the year in 2006 by state
broadcaster CCTV -- date back to 1998 but were
not pursued until this year. They stem from
purchases he made of carpets, wooden artifacts
and other antiques at a shop in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has said his client bought the
items because he was interested in them as a
collector, but did not know they had been plundered from graves in the region.

Supporters have said the June 24 trial was aimed
at punishing Karma Samdrup after he spoke up for
his two brothers who were detained after accusing
local officials in eastern Tibet of poaching
endangered species. Authorities in tightly
controlled Tibet are extremely sensitive to
social activism and criticism, either explicit or implied.

Pu, who complained of irregularities during the
original trial, said he only learned Monday that
his client's appeal had been rejected on July 7.

The Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture
Intermediate Court never responded to the
documents he filed for Karma Samdrup's appeal and
have not explained why they rejected it, he said.
Pu also questioned why the appeal was rejected so
quickly after the conclusion of the original trial.

"I don't know why they're in a such a hurry. What
are they afraid of? What are they trying to cover
up?" he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Phones at the court rang unanswered Monday.
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