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Two sentenced for choeten vandalism in Lhuentse

Lhuentse dzongkhag court sentenced two men from Tsenkhar for vandalising Namgyal Khangzang choetens in the locality.

The court sentenced Thuktenla, 23, from Tsenkhar to 24 years in prison for vandalising Namgyal Khazang choetens in Tshochen village in Tshenkhar and Jangbung village of Jarey gewog.

Although the defendant was sentenced to 24 years in prison for vandalising the choeten in Tshochen and six years and nine months in prison for attempting to vandalise the choeten in Jangbung, he was given a concurrent sentencing of 24 years.

The judgment stated that Thuktenla vandalised the Namgyal Khangzang choeten in Tshochen on the night of September 14, 2013. “He, however, did not take the relics and left the red corals and copper utensils near the choeten.”

Attorney Kinley Tshering from the Office of Attorney General (OAG) charged Thuktenla for violating section 351 (A) of the Penal Code of Bhutan, which states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence against the Ku, Suung, Thukten or Zung, if he or she removes a zuung from a choeten or religious statue.

The offence is graded a first-degree felony according to section 352 of the Penal Code.

The court, however, ruled that since the defendant did not have prior criminal record and also because he did not take the relics, he was given 24 years imprisonment.

The attorney also charged Thuktenla for violating section 120 of the Penal Code, which states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of an attempt to commit a crime if he or she acts with the culpability required for commission of a crime for vandalising the Namgyal Khangzang choeten in Jangbung on the night of July 15, 2014, with a friend. The two could not take away the relics after a nearby resident put on the light while going to toilet.

The court ruled that Thuktenla would be sentenced to six years and nine months in prison in accordance to section 135 (A) of the Penal Code which grades the offence of criminal attempt as a third-degree felony.

The court ruled that the offence is serious since the defendant has committed the crime twice.

Thuktenla was arrested on August 2.

The court sentenced Karma Tenzin, 27, to six years and six months in prison for criminal attempt to vandalise the choeten in Jangbung.

He was convicted for attempting to vandalise the choeten with Thuktenla on the night of July 15, 2014.

He was arrested on August 10.

Tashi Dema

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