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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Lawyers secure release of Tibetan monk after six months without charge

May 8, 2009

[Times Online]
By Jane Macartney in Beijing
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
 Jigme, a Buddhist monk, was released after his case attracted
international publicity
Beijing: China has released a Tibetan monk held for six months without
charge after pressure from two of China?s most prominent human rights

Jigme, a 42-year-old lama, was released on May 2 and returned a day
later to his monastery, half a year after dozens of police raided his
quarters and took him away for the second time in a year.

Li Fangping, one of two lawyers who took up the monk?s case last month,
told The Times: ?He was released partly because there was insufficient
evidence. Even though he spoke about how he was tortured after the March
14 incident, this was insufficient to make a criminal case. He is now
released on bail.?

Police have arrested hundreds of Tibetans, among them monks and
civilians, since a peaceful protests in the capital Lhasa on March 14
last year.

Mr Li said that an important factor in the decision to free the monk was
the appearance of lawyers to argue on his behalf.

?When the police told him that lawyers had come forward to help him, he
said he wanted legal representation. Before we even had time to see him,
he had been released.?

The monk told Mr Li and another lawyer, Jiang Tianyong, that he had
received a warning from the police not to accept interviews and to see
as few people as possible. Mr Li said that the monk told him that he was
as well as could be expected.

Jigme, a member of the Gyuto Dratsang or Upper Tantric College, one of
six institutes of learning at Labrang Monastery, incurred the wrath of
the authorities when he posted a video account on YouTube of his ordeals
after the March unrest.

He described how he was detained on March 12 and questioned for two days
before being taken to a prison in a nearby town.

Conditions there were harsh, he said. "They would hang me up for several
hours with my hands tied to a rope ... hanging from the ceiling and my
feet above the ground. Then they would beat me on my face, chest and
back, with the full force of their fists."

His interrogators wanted to know if he was a leader of protests outside
Labrang on March 15 and what contact he had with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's
spiritual leader.

?Finally, on one occasion, I lost consciousness and was taken to
hospital. After I regained consciousness at the hospital, I was once
again taken back to prison where they continued the practice of hanging
me from the ceiling and beating me."

After Jigme was taken to hospital for a second time, apparently on the
verge of death from internal injuries, he was handed over to his family
who took him to another hospital where he recovered after 20 days.

After making the video, he spent several weeks on the run, hiding in the
mountains until the weather turned too cold and he returned to his
monastery. He was taken away within days of his return.

It is the second time in recent weeks that Mr Li and Mr Jiang have come
forward to help a detained Tibetan.

A court decided at the last minute to postpone judgment last month on a
Tibetan living Buddha who faces 15 years in jail on charges of
possessing illegal weapons and illegally seizing government land.

Legal experts said that such a move was unusual for a Chinese court and
could indicate that the unusually spirited defence mounted in court and
the international publicity the case attracted could have prompted
debate among judicial officials over the sentence.
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