Five individuals who were convicted in choeten vandalism cases by the Mongar dzongkhag court in November last year withdrew their appeals to the High Court on February 13.

Mongar dzongkhag court sentenced 12 men to prison for vandalising 101 choetens in Mongar and Lhuentse.  Nine men had appealed to the HC last year.

Of the 12, five men were sentenced to life. Leki Khando from Silambi, Lhaten Dorji, 33, Rinchen Khando from Silambi gewog and Jurmey Namgyel, from Wengkhar, Mongar, and Pema Dorji, 35, were found guilty of committing offences against Ku, Sung, and Thukten.

According to the prosecutors, the defendants appealed to the High Court seeking kidu and leniency on their prison terms.

After the High Court told the defendants that their stated reasons would not qualify as proper grounds of appeal, Kuensel leanrt, they decided to withdraw their appeal.

Leki Khando, 35, was found guilty of vandalising 59 choetens from Saling and Silambi gewogs  in Mongar from 2011 to 2016, and the court sentenced him to a concurrent sentence of 59 life imprisonments. Leki Khando and accomplice, Jurmey Namgyel, vandalised a Jangchub choeten in Tsakaling gewog.

Jurmey Namgyel, 26, vandalised six choetens. He was also given a concurrent sentencing for six life imprisonments.

Lhaten Dorji, 33, was sentenced to 29 life imprisonments for vandalising 29 choetens from 1997 to 2016 and attempting to vandalise four choetens in Silambi and Gongdue gewogs inMongar. The judgment was also concurrent.

Rinchen Khando, 23, was also found guilty of vandalising two choetens in Silambi. He was also given a concurrent sentencing for two life imprisonments.

Pema Dorji from Tsakaling  vandalised 28 choetens and he was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment.

Choeten vandalism is graded a first-degree felony with a minimum sentence of life imprisonment.

Tshering Palden