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Tibet courts convict 76 involved in March demonstrations

[JURIST] Tibetan courts have convicted 76 people involved in the March 2008 Lhasa riots [Free Tibet backgrounder; JURIST news archive], according to official remarks [Xinhua report] on Tuesday by vice-president of the Tibet regional People's Congress Nyima Cering. The high ranking Tibetan official did not discuss sentence terms at the press conference, part of a state sponsored tour of the region for foreign media. Non Gyal, a monk who interrupted a press conference one year ago to tell the foreign media that the government was lying to them about the aftermath of the riots, was also present. He described his prior statements as misguided, and said that he had suffered no repercussions after the riots.

The March 2008 riots coincided with Olympic Games publicity in the region and the anniversary celebration of the failed Tibetan uprising against China. At least 18 people died and 1200 were arrested, but several reports allege much higher numbers. China is wary of disturbances in this year's 50th anniversary celebrations, only a month away, and already there are reports [AP report] that 81 people in Tibet have been detained for alleged criminal activity. In November 2008, the UN Committee Against Torture [official website] recommended [press release; JURIST report] that China ensure prompt access to an independent lawyer, independent medical care, and the right to lodge confidential complaints for all persons detained in connection with the March 2008 riots.

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