Tibetan Environmentalist Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Rinchen Samdrup

A Chinese court has sentenced a leading Tibetan environmentalist to five years in prison on a charge of "incitement to split the country."

Rinchen Samdrup pleaded not guilty in a trial Saturday. He has 10 days to appeal his sentence.

Samdrup was accused of posting an article about Tibetans' spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on his environmental website.

He was arrested last August along with his youngest brother, Chime Namgyal. The two were detained after they accused local officials in eastern Tibet of poaching endangered species.

Namgyal was given a 21-month sentence of "re-education through labor" for allegedly harming national security.

A third Samdrup brother, Karma, was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison on charges of dealing in looted antiquities.