China Court Rejects Tibetan Environmentalist’s Appeal

Karma Samdrup (File)

A court in northwest China has rejected an appeal from Karma Samdrup, a prominent Tibetan environmentalist who was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of dealing in looted antiquities more than a decade ago.

The charges against Samdrup date back to 1998 but were not pursued until this year. Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang 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, Pu told the AP on Monday. Pu also questioned why the appeal was rejected so quickly after the conclusion of the original trial.

Supporters say Samdrup is being silenced for speaking out against the detention of his two brothers, who accused local officials in eastern Tibet of poaching endangered species

Tibetan artists, intellectuals and, now, environmentalists in China are facing an increasing threat of arrest and prolonged detention in the wake of the 2008 Tibetan protests against Beijing's rule.

Observers say the crackdown on figures normally left out of politics signals China's growing concern about a resurgence of pride in Tibetan cultural identity.

Some informatiion for this report was provided by AP