Monday, July 05, 2010

China Arrests Environmentalist

China Jails Tibetan Environmentalist

BEIJING, July 3 (Reuters) - A Chinese court on Saturday sentenced a Tibetan environmentalist who organized villagers to pick up litter and plant trees to five years in jail for inciting to split the nation, his lawyer said.

The environmentalist, Rinchen Samdrup, is the third brother in his family to be jailed. Mr. Samdrup ran an environmental group in the Tibet Autonomous Region near Sichuan Province that organized about 1,700 local villagers to reforest the area and report poaching, and also ran a small magazine. His group worked with international conservation groups and was praised by Chinese media.

Exile Tibetan groups say Mr. Samdrup ran afoul of powerful local interests after accusing a local police officer of poaching.

Mr. Samdrup was accused of posting a favorable article about the Dalai Lama on his website, his lawyer, Xia Jun, said. He pleaded not guilty But the Chamdo prefecture court convicted him of incitement to split the country, the lawyer said, and deprived him of his political rights for three years.

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