China court postpones sentencing for Tibetan lama tried on weapons charges

China court postpones sentencing for Tibetan lama

BEIJING — A Chinese court has postponed sentencing in the case of a Tibetan lama tried on weapons charges, one of the man’s lawyers said Tuesday.

The court in the traditionally Tibetan western region of Ganzi in Sichuan province gave no reason for the delay and said the lawyers would be informed before the sentencing date, Jiang Tianyong said.

Jiang’s client, Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, went on trial April 21 after authorities said they found a pistol, more than 100 bullets, and cartridges under a bed in his living room.

His defense team said he was framed after being forced into making a confession following a four-day police interrogation and threats to detain his wife and son. Sentencing was originally scheduled for Tuesday. The defense has linked his prosecution to rioting that broke out on March 14, 2008, leading to the most sustained Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades.

The 52-year-old monk could be imprisoned for up to 15 years if found guilty.

Court clerks in Ganzi reached by telephone said they had no information about the case.

Last year’s March unrest soon spread to Ganzi, a deeply Buddhist region known for its strong Tibetan identity. Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche was arrested May 18 last year just days after more than 80 nuns in the area held a demonstration against an official campaign to impose “patriotic re-education” on their convents, in which they were required to denounce Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

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