London, Jul 4 (ANI): China has sent a Tibetan environmentalist to jail for five years on a charge of inciting separatism in the country, in the latest sign of what human rights groups called increasing repression of intellectuals.
Chinese authorities said an article on Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was posted on Rinchen Samdrup's website, which is devoted to environmental protection in the Himalayan region.
Samdrup pleaded not guilty in a trial that lasted less than two hours. He told the Changdu Intermediate People's Court that he did not post the article and it was a mistake not to delete it quickly, The Scotsman reports.
The Chinese government is highly sensitive about anything related to the Dalai Lama, who it has accused of supporting independence for Tibet.
Tensions in the region escalated after 2008 rioting in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, in which at least 22 people died.
"I feel regret about this sentence. It was a mistake but not a crime," said his lawyer Xia Jun. He said someone else posted the article, not Samdrup.
The sentence comes little over a week after Samdrup's brother, Karma Samdrup, a nationally known environmentalist once praised by the Chinese government as a model philanthropist, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of grave-robbing and dealing in looted antiquities.
His supporters said the sentence was aimed at punishing his activism, including his efforts to free Rinchen Samdrup and another brother from detention. (ANI)