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Court jails Tibetan environmentalist

A leading Tibetan environmentalist and collector of antiquities has been jailed for 15 years for robbing graves.

Karma Samdup was sentenced by a court in Xinjiang for excavating and robbing ancient tombs, a charge brought and dropped in 1998, said his lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang. "He is innocent. They did not provide any evidence. It is a miscarriage of justice," he said.

The lawyer said that although Karma Samdup was fine mentally, he had been shocked by his client's appearance. "He looked terrible. He's lost a lot of weight in jail and says he was treated terribly," Mr Pu said. The philanthropist was arrested in Chengdu city in early January. He was also involved in a well-respected environmental group.

Several artists and intellectuals have been detained or have disappeared in recent months in what activists say is the broadest suppression of Tibetan culture and expression for years.