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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

New report: Political prisoners in Tibet

May 27, 2013

London, May 24, 2013 - Tibet Society's report on political prisoners focuses on Tibetans harshly sentenced since the introduction of new laws at the end of 2012 aimed at eradicating self-immolation protests. The cases of 41 Tibetans are highlighted, all of whom were sentenced between January and mid-April 2013. Also, the report includes the cases of nine Tibetan political prisoners who have all been recently released from prison in very poor health.

The cases of those sentenced in the first four months of 2013 include 12 Tibetans charged with "intentional homicide". This new charge was introduced by the Chinese Supreme Court in December 2012 and is used against those suspected of aiding or abetting self-immolation protests. On 31 January 2013, Lobsang Kunchok became the first Tibetan to receive a death sentence (suspended for two years) on this charge. Others have been given sentences ranging from seven to 15 years.

Since January this year, prison sentences meted out for “political crimes” have also hardened. For example, Tibetans who have simply participated in peaceful street protests or reported on such protests have received sentences of up to four years; Lolo, a singer, was jailed for six years having released an album with ‘political’ lyrics; and, Yarphel, a monk, was imprisoned for 15 months for taking part in a funeral procession for his deceased nephew who had self-immolated.

In all the cases featured, there are strong reasons to believe there has been a lack of any due legal process. Tibetans charged with 'political crimes' are rarely granted a fair hearing, with most trials held behind closed doors and defendants denied the right to choose their own lawyer. Confessions are often extracted under torture.

The report also highlights nine Tibetan political prisoners who have been recently released from prison in poor and even critical condition. The Chinese authorities are known to release prisoners in ill-health to ensure they do not die in prison.

Download the report: www.tibetsociety.com/images/documents/2013-05-prisoner-cases.pdf

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