02/09/2004, 00.00
china- tibet
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Tibetan Lama condemned to death without evidence

New York (AsiaNews/HRW) –  Yesterday Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report in which it asked the Chinese government to release Tenzin Delek Rimpoche immediately from prison. Tenzin Delek Rimpoche is a very respected Tibetan lama in his community, yet the accusations brought against him are unfounded.

Currently Tenzin Delek Rimpoche is Chuandong's No. 3 prison (in Sichuan).

The lama was accused of having financed a series of dynamite blasts on Apr. 3 2002 in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, which resulted in 3 deaths.  

His sentence was issued on Dec. 12 2002 by a court in Sichuan, but Human Rights Watch is asking for the lama's release while awaiting a suitable trial in accordance with international standards and guarantees.

According to HWR, Chinese authorities have refused to give the lama a public trial (contrary to what is stipulated by Chinese law) and has not agreed to release his verdict or court accusations, saying that the trial involves state secrets.  

Authorities did not even allow the lama to be defended by attorneys chosen by his family. The death sentence was suspended for two years and will be changed to life imprisonment if the terms of the suspension are respected.   

Another Tibetan man implicated in the crime is Lobsang Dondrup, 24, a relative of lama Tenzin. He was sentenced on Jan 26. 2003, being accused of detonating the bomb. According to HRW, this is the Chinese government's umpteenth attempt to repress Tibetans in terms of politics, culture and religion.  

For over 10 years Tenzin Delek Rimpoche –who has helped lead a battle for Tibet's independence, greater environmental protection as well as social, religious and health care conditions —has been the object of constant persecution by Chinese authorities.

Relations with the Chinese government have worsened since 1993, when the lama was able to put a stop to deforestation attempts in the region.    

In addition, Chinese repression has involved the lama's family members and supporters, especially in the district of Nyangchu where Tenzin Delek Rimpoche once lived. 

According to HRW's report, 6 of the lama's followers are now in jail, while 60 persons of the Tibetan community have been brought in for questioning and over 100 local inhabitants has fled the region for fear of being tortured and imprisoned.   (MR)

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