03/26/2010, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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Tibetan monk convicted in secret trial, without due process

Ngagchung gets seven years in prison, but no one knows the charges. Arrested in July 2008, he has been in isolation ever since. None of his relatives has been able to see him. His monastery has always been under the watchful eye of police.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – In a secret trial held in January, the Intermediate People’s Court in Kardze, Sichuan Province, sentenced Ngagchung, a Tibetan monk, to seven years in prison and one year without political rights, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reported.

The 39-year-old monk from the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute of Serthar, Sertha County, has been held in isolation since 8 July 2008 when he was arrested along with two other monks, Taphun and Gudrak. All three were suspected of providing information about the situation in Tibet to “separatist forces”.

Unlike the other two monks who were released after being interrogated, Ngagchung was placed under detention. Since then, he has been kept in isolation, and no one, not even his closest relatives, has been allowed to see him.

Likewise, no one knows on what charges he was arrested, or whether he was provided with legal counsel or not, in addition, no one from his family has been informed about his status. For many experts, his situation violates basic international rules of law.

Ngagchung has studied for more 20 years at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, where he has been a well-liked member. He is the nephew of the institute’s founder, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, a Buddhist scholar.

Chinese authorities have repeatedly harassed Larung Gar. In 1999 and June 2001, they searched its premises. In April 2000, a government work team was sent to carry out the “patriotic re-education” of resident monks and nuns. On 18 April 2001, the authorities imposed a quota on the number of students who could attend the institution, forcing some 7,000 students to leave.

The institute’s founder, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, died on 7 January 2004 under unexplained circumstances after being admitted to the Chengdu Hospital. (N.C.)

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