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China sentences 2 Tibetans on murder charge for inciting self-immolations in ethnic region

Chinese state media say two Tibetan men have been convicted of murder and given harsh sentences for inciting self-immolations in an ethnic Tibetan region.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a court in Aba prefecture in the southwestern province of Sichuan announced the verdicts Thursday. It said Lorang Konchok, 40, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve while his nephew Lorang Tsering, 31, was given 10 years in prison.

Calls to the court rang unanswered Thursday.

Xinhua says the two men encouraged eight people to self-immolate and that three of them died from their burns last year in Aba.

Nearly 100 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have set themselves on fire since 2009 calling for religious freedom and the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.