Tibetan Monk Facing Two Years in Jail Over Dalai Lama Photo

A Tibetan monk has been sentenced to two years in jail for sharing a photo of the exiled Dalai Lama, according to sources who spoke with Radio Free Asia.org.

Gomar Choephel, 47, was sentenced on Feb. 17 by the People’s Intermediate Court in the Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Choephel had been detained since July 2015 without trial before being sentenced.

“He had already been detained for several months, and has now been sentenced for circulating a photo of the Dalai Lama through social media, and also for having the photo in his personal possession,” the source said.

Chinese authorities have banned photos of the Dalai Lama in Tibetan areas. Beijing considers the 80-year-old spiritual leader to be a dangerous separatist who wants to divide China.

The RFA’s source said Choephel had been “convicted of undermining social stability and of taking actions aimed at splitting the country.”

Choephel was a monk of the Rongwo monastery in Malho’s Rebgong (Tongren) county. He is being held in the county’s Drakmar detention center, according to the source.

The Dalai Lama has been in exile in India since 1959. In recent years, he has been calling for “Middle Way” autonomy for Tibet within China, that includes protection of Tibetan language, religion and culture.


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