[24 June 2015] UPDATE: The husband of self-immolator Sangye Tso has been detained by the Chinese authorities. Tamding Wangyal was arrested on 10 June along with a local monk, Trinley Gyatso. No official reason has been given for the arrests but local sources say they are in connection with Sangye Tso’s self-immolation on 27 May.
Five Tibetans have now been detained in relation to the self-immolation, two family members, one of whom is a monk, and three other monks. Sangye’s nephew and monk, Tenzin Soepa, was detained on 28 May. Two monks, Samten Gyatso and Lobsang Tenzin, were arrested on 4 and 5 June respectively. All four detained monks are from Tashi Choekhorling monastery, located in the same township (Dokhog) as the self-immolation took place.
In recent years, the Chinese authorities have arrested numerous Tibetans related to self-immolators or with perceived connections to self-immolators protests, as an apparent deterent. In December 2012, China’s Supreme Court introduced a new law of “intentional homicide” for authorities to apply to those considered to have “helped, aided or abetted” self-immolations. Dozens of Tibetans have been jailed under the new charge, with sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment. The first Tibetan charged under the new law, Lobsang Kunchok, received a suspended death sentence. In most, if not all, there has been a lack of due process.