07/21/2009, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Lawyer ejected because of "no use": monk sentenced to life

by Nirmala Carvalho
Tibetans are stopped from employing a trusted lawyer, lawyers are removed and they denied access to clients. In closed door trials, without a trusted defence, Tibetans who dared to protest or praise to the Dalai Lama, are handed down heavy sentences.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - The Court does not allow the lawyer, because the client already has one appointed by the court: Sentenced to life imprisonment.

Beijing lawyer, Li Dunyong, along with others have repeatedly declared they are ready to defend Tibetans. He was named by relatives to defend the monks Tsultrim Gyatso and Thabkey Gyatso from the monastery of Labrang (Gansu), arrested for taking part in a political protest. Li says that the authorities have responded that his work was not necessary, because the monks "already had a lawyer."

The two monks, after they were denied defence, were sentenced to life and 15 years in prison for "having attempted to divide the country."

Radio Free Asia yesterday reported a number of cases in which the court has not accepted the legal representation of Tibetan defendants. Officials of the court in Xining (Qinghai) refused Li permission to defend documentary producer Dhondup Wangchen.

Wangchen has been held since March 2008 for having interviewed two Tibetans about their political ideas, for the film "Leaving Fear Behind". The film, which collects testimonies of the Tibetans on the Dalai Lama, Chinese policy in Tibet and the Olympic Games in Beijing, has been translated into seven languages and screened in over 30 countries. Li has been appointed by the family of Wangchen, who only discovered the arrest after a year.

Meanwhile, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reports that the court of Kardze (Sichuan) on July 3 sentenced Tibetan monk Jamyang Tenzin to 3 years in prison for having protested against the campaign of "Patriotic Education" launched in Lithang 2007.

Jamyang was arrested on 3 October 2007 because he objected to a peaceful campaign of "education" underway in Yonru monastery, County Lithang. Since then he has been held in prison but his family knew nothing about the arrest and hence no one has been able to go and visit him. It is not known whether he had legal advice in the trial. 

In September 2007 the Chinese authorities imposed campaigns of indoctrination on the monasteries of Lithang. The "instructors" have also demanded monks to write complaints against the Dalai Lama and to show loyalty to the Chinese government. Janyang protested and shouted slogans like "May the Dalai Lama live thousands of years." He was taken away one night, at the end of the education campaign.

 

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