Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – A petition for the release of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama sentenced by China to life in prison in 2004 for “terrorism” is currently being organised amongst exiled Tibetan communities.
At Dharamsala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile and home of the Dalai Lama, five pro-free Tibet NGOs met and together decided to submit a request to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Tenzin Choeying, a leader of the Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), told AsiaNews that “this appeal is the only way we can ask for justice denied so far. With our first campaign we believe we forced China to stop the death sentence. Now we are hopeful that through this international campaign we can obtain his release, unconditionally and immediately.”
The lama was sentenced to death in 2002 along with a 28-year-old activist, Lobsang Dhondup. Both were accused of a bomb attack in Sichuan’s capital of Chengdu that killed one person injuring a second. They were also accused of funding and organising other attacks in Ganzi, also in Sichuan.
The trial was held in camera and the defendants were denied the right to choose their own counsel. Various human rights groups and United Nations experts concluded that the lama did not receive a fair trial, calling how he was arrested and detained “illegal”.
Both monks were eventually sentenced to death but an international campaign was able to force Beijing to spare Rinpoche, who was sent to another prison to serve a life sentence. Lobsang Dhondup was instead executed in January 2003.