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  • » 01/26/2005, 00.00

    CINA – TIBET

    Death sentence commuted to life for Tibetan monk



    Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche was sentenced three years ago. His right-hand man Tashi Phuntsog was freed after suffering a physical and mental breakdown in prison.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China has commuted Tibetan monk Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche's 2002 death sentence for terrorism to life imprisonment. Rinpoche and his aide, 28-year-old Lobsang Dhondup, were found guilty of carrying out bomb attacks in Ganzi, near Tibet's eastern border, and in Chengdu, Sichuan province's capital. One person died and another was wounded in the attacks. The trial was in camera and the accused were not afforded legal council of their choice.

    Foreign human rights groups and United Nations human rights experts have said that Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche's his arrest and detention were illegal and that his trial was not fair.

    Both monks were sentenced to death but whilst Rinpoche went to prison Lobsang Dhondup was executed in January 2003.

    Rinpoche's case had elicited a worldwide reaction including political leaders. The latest was Canada's Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew, who in early December said that "his and other governments had exerted diplomatic pressures on Beijing".

    His sentence has now been commuted to life for good behaviour in prison in the past two years.

    Chinese law allows for commutation if the inmate does not violate any prison rules.

    On January 6 Rinpoche's right-hand man Tashi Phuntsog was released but according to Human Rights Watch, he is a "physically broken man".

    "Tashi Phuntsog entered prison as a healthy man in his early forties, and he was cast out literally as a broken man", said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

    "We welcome Tashi Phuntsog's early release, but Chinese officials have to explain how they allowed this to happen to someone in their custody."

    He is no longer able to walk or speak clearly.

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    See also

    30/05/2005 CHINA - TIBET
    Two Tibetan monks sentenced to 11 years in prison
    The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy slams the Chinese Court's decision. The monks' crime: hoisting the Tibetan flag.

    23/09/2005 un - tibet - china
    UN rights body demands access to Beijing's abducted Panchen Lama
    Chinese authorities say Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, now 16 year-old, is fine and "do not wish to be disturbed by foreign visitors".

    09/02/2004 china- tibet
    Tibetan Lama condemned to death without evidence


    10/08/2005 PAKISTAN
    Christian charged with blasphemy released
    Despite his newly found freedom, Yousaf Masih's life is still at risk. He is in hiding to avoid Islamists' threats. Islamic political parties still call for his death, whilst minority rights activists announce a national campaign against the Blasphemy Law.

    21/09/2005 CHINA – TIBET
    Chinese security forces spirit away monk
    Since August Human Rights Watch has denounced the disappearance of Sonam, a Potala Palace monk. Whilst lavish celebrations were underway to mark the 40 years of the Tibet Autonomous Region, individual Tibetans and entire Tibetan families were abducted and sent to the countryside on mere suspicions.



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