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TCHRD urges China to Overturn death sentences

April 15, 2009

TCHRD
April 13, 2009

TCHRD welcomes China's First Working Action Plan
on Human Rights Protection 2009-2010

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
(TCHRD) expresses its deepest concern at the
first known cases of death sentences passed by
the Lhasa Municipal Intermediate People?s Court
for two Tibetans in connection to last year?s 14
March Lhasa unrest. Two other Tibetans were
sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and
another sentenced to life imprisonment in three
separate cases of arson, reportedly involving the deaths of seven people.

There is no information on whether the defendants
will appeal their sentences as all death
sentences had to undergo an additional review and
approved by the Supreme People?s Court following
a reform introduced in 2007. The Centre urges the
Chinese authorities to overturn the death
sentences passed on Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak
and calls for commutation of death sentences.

The Centre is seriously concerned about the
fairness of the legal procedures according to
international standards for fair trial and the
treatment of the detainees who were held for more
than a year in custody prior to their court
sentencing. While the official mouthpiece,
Xinhua, report states that detainees were
represented by lawyers and provided with Tibetan
interpreters for the defendants during the trial,
however, the rights of defendants to be
represented by the lawyer of their choice was
ignored by the judicial authorities, due to
politicized nature of the process. Following the
March 2008 protests, several lawyers from the
Mainland China were threatened to revoke their
license if they represent the detainees.

Political interference in the judicial trials is
evident. During a meeting convened by the ?Tibet
Autonomous Region? (?TAR?) Higher People?s Court
at Lhasa on 2 April 2008, Pema Trinley, Executive
Vice Governor of ?TAR,? also a Deputy Secretary,
Standing Committee of the TAR Communist Party?s
Political and Legal Affairs (Ch: Xizang zi zhiqu
dang wei chang wei zheng fa wei fu shu ji),
during a meeting with theme, ?Working Commission
to adjudicate cases involving 14 March Riot, (Ch:
Zi zhi qu gaoji renmin fa yuan zai lasa zhao kai
xizhang fa yuan 3.14 an jian shen feng gong zuo
hui yi)? call on judiciary to act fast and strike
hard on ?Dalai clique.? In addition, he told that
stringent legal action should be taken in tune
with the Party policy so that the final verdict
would gain political, legal and social dividends
referring to achieving political and social stability.

The Centre remains unconditionally opposed to the
use of the death penalty in all cases, as a
violation of the?right to life and the right not
to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or?degrading
treatment or punishment. It should also be noted
that the death?penalty has never shown to have a
special deterrent effect nor should state use it
to justify the wrong done by the defendant as in
the case of Tibetans where it was stated that
Losang Gyaltsen and Loyak "have to be executed to
assuage the people's anger.??Such eye for eye
approach is in no way a justification of giving death sentence.

Apart from the five Tibetans sentenced by the
Lhasa Municipal Intermediate People?s Court on 8
April 2009, according to the official report a
similar case allegedly involving the deaths of
five people in a fire is reportedly ?still under
trial,? without citing the number of defendants
involved in that trial, nor were the verdict and
sentence. Going by earlier official reports, the
Centre fears for the fate of two young women,
whom the authorities charged with setting fire to
a garment shop that burned five people during the
unrest. The verdicts of Penkyi, 23, and Chime
Lhazom, 20, are awaited and the Centre fears the
two might get a similar court verdict.

TCHRD is gravely concerned for the fate of
Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak and would like to seek
urgent intervention by the UN Special Rapporteur
on Extra Judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary
Executions, governments and the international
community. TCHRD calls for prompt and impartial
review of the case of five Tibetans by the
Supreme People?s Court and to commute the death sentences imposed on them.

At the same time, TCHRD finds it encouraging that
Chinese government had made the effort to publish
?the First Working Action Plan on Human Rights
Protection 2009-2010? as stated by the official
mouthpiece, Xinhua, on 13 April 2009. In December
last year, China's Supreme People's Court issued
a new regulation with 7 articles clarifying the
conditions and procedure used to halt execution
of the death penalty. Although Beijing had vowed
to improve its human rights for years but
routinely failed to implement human rights
protections enshrined in its own constitutions
and laws. The Centre hopes that the Action Plan
will not remain as mere plan rather authorities
at all level would respect, implement and follow
them and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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