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Beijing: An appeal by Karma Samdrup, the Tibetan environmentalist sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for grave robbery and dealing in looted antiquities, was rejected outright by a Chinese court on July 7th, the Associated Press reported yesterday (July 3).
The tomb-raiding charges against Samdrup, the businessman and 2006 Environmentalist of the Year, date back to a 1998 when looted items were found in his possession. His lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, has said he was unaware of the origin of the wooden artifacts and other antiques in question.
There was no response to the documents filed by Zhiqiang for his client's appeal, which was rejected without any explanation from the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate Court. Many of Samdrup's supporters believe he is being made an example of due to his public role in environmental activism. Zhiqiang suspects the steadfast dismissal of the appeal may be an attempt at a cover-up.
Since the initial ruling, Human Rights Watch have reported that Samdrup has been beaten by prison officials as well as undergoing several months of interrogation, sleep deprivation, and that he was drugged with a substance that causes the eyes and ears to bleed.
Attempts by the Associated Press to contact the court for further information have fallen on deaf ears.