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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?"

Four Tibetans Executed in Lhasa

October 26, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tibet Society
London, 22 October 2009

Norman Baker MP condemns the Chinese authorities
and says executions make a mockery of British
government’s softly softly approach.

Reports have been received that four Tibetans
have been executed in Lhasa on 20 October. On
hearing the news of these summary executions,
Norman Baker, President of Tibet Society and Vice
Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group, said
“This is a shocking act by the Chinese
authorities. It clearly shows there is no
meaningful commitment on the part of the Chinese
government to legal reform or internationally
accepted standards of rule of law. That these
executions have taken place within a few weeks of
Minister of State Ivan Lewis’s visit to Tibet,
makes a mockery of any claims by the British
government to having any influence or effecting
change and improvement for the Tibetan people’s
civil and human rights by a softly softly
approach. This act is one that we should all
abhor and be deeply apprehensive about as it
blatantly shows the utter disregard the Chinese
government has to a whole raft of human rights issues we all take for granted."

Tibet Society CEO, Philippa Carrick added: "We
call on the British government to issue an
immediate statement condemning the executions in
the strongest possible terms and we further call
on the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to
scrutinise the Chinese government's legal
procedures that led to these shocking executions.
In May the British government admitted it had
real cause for concern about the death sentences
meted out to Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak. Now it
is time for the government speak out and act on
these concerns and hold the Chinese government to
account. I am sure our supporters share our shock
and outrage at this appalling turn of events and
will also be writing to the Foreign Secretary
asking for meaningful action from the government."

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
(TCHRD) and Gu Chu Sum, two Tibetan NGOs who have
direct contact with sources in Tibet, have
received confirmed information from reliable
sources that Lobsang Gyaltsen, Loyak (both of
whom had received death sentences in April),
Penkyi and an unnamed Tibetan thought to be from
Ramoche area, were executed on Tuesday, 20
October 2009 at 11 am Chinese Standard Time in
Toelung, near Lhasa. The executions took place
under the supervision of the Lhasa Municipality
Intermediate People’s Court for their alleged
involvement in last year’s mass protest in Lhasa,
the Tibetan capital. So far the executions have
not been publically reported anywhere in the Chinese state media.

According to sources, the body of Lobsang
Gyaltsen, from Lhubuk on the outskirts of Lhasa,
was handed over to his family. His body was later
immersed in Kyichu River by his wife, as his
family is very poor and could not afford to carry
out religious prayers for the deceased. Loyak's
ashes have been reportedly handed over to his family.

Further clarification is being sought on the
identity of Penkyi and the un-named Tibetan and
under what charges and sentences their executions were carried out.

The original trials took place in April this year
behind closed doors. The defendants did not have
access to independent legal representation and
there were no outside observers. There is no
information on whether the Supreme People’s Court
reviewed the cases of Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak,
who both received death sentences, as required
under Chinese law where the death sentence is
meted out. Nor is it known if Lobsang Gyaltsen
and Loyak were given the opportunity to lodge appeals.

In May, Bill Rammell, the then Minister of State
in the Foreign Office, stated: "We have received
a number of reports from non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) stating that the trials of
those connected with the disturbances in Tibet in
March 2008 were not compliant with international
standards, and that the evidence against the
individuals concerned was unsound and the
convictions therefore unsafe. We have
consistently expressed our concern at the need
for proper due process for all those detained,
and our belief that any trials should be
conducted justly, fairly and transparently. The
fact that independent observers were not allowed
at these trials means that we have been unable to
verify that the human rights of the defendants
were respected, and that the trials were free
from political interference. This, together with
the reports from NGOs, does give us real cause
for concern, as does the verdict of the death
penalty, to which the UK is opposed in principle.
As a consequence, and working closely with our EU
counterparts, we are urging the Chinese
authorities not to carry out the sentences imposed on those convicted."

[ends]

*****************
For background / further information contact:
Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society: 07941 105485 Email: philippa@tibetsociety.com
Norman Baker MP: 020 7219 5138 / Constituency: 01273 480 268
Terry Bettger, Tibet Society: 07910 056606 Email: terry@tibetsociety.com

Tibet Society has a background supplement
available that was published prior to the
executions: Denied Justice: China and the Rule of
law in Tibet. For a copy please email
philippa@tibetsociety.com or call 020 7272 1414.

Tibet support groups and the Tibetan Community
are holding a Vigil opposite the Chinese Embassy
Thursday 22nd October, Time: 6pm - 8pm
Address: 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL

Background to the trials

On 8 April 2009, Lhasa Municipal Intermediate
People’s Court tried and sentenced five Tibetans
behind closed doors in three separate cases
related to arson attacks in March 2008 in Lhasa.
Two of the five Tibetans were given death
sentences - Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak. Another
two were given suspended death sentences with two
year reprieves - Tenzin Phuntsok and Kangtsuk.
Meanwhile a fifth Tibetan was given a life sentence - Dawa Sangpo.

Two weeks later it was reported in the Chinese
press that three girls had also been tried for
further alleged arson attacks during the March
2008 demonstrations in Lhasa. One girl, Penkyi
(20) from Sakya County received a suspended death
sentence with a two-year reprieve; life
imprisonment was meted out to Penkyi (23) from
Nyemo County; and Chime Lhamo (20) from Shigatse
Namling County was sentenced to a ten-year jail term.

All these sentences, the trial procedures and
treatment prior to the hearings are a matter of
grave concern and, if China sincerely wants to be
respected as a major world power, world
governments must surely insist that it adheres to
international standards of human and civil
rights, including the right to a fair and open trial.

Government statements on death sentences

18 May 2009: Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of
State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs --
what reports he has received on the compliance
with international standards of the trials of
individuals arrested in connection with the
disturbances in Tibet in March 2008.
Bill Rammell: We have received a number of
reports from non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) stating that the trials of those connected
with the disturbances in Tibet in March 2008 were
not compliant with international standards, and
that the evidence against the individuals
concerned was unsound and the convictions
therefore unsafe. We have consistently expressed
our concern at the need for proper due process
for all those detained, and our belief that any
trials should be conducted justly, fairly and
transparently. The fact that independent
observers were not allowed at these trials means
that we have been unable to verify that the human
rights of the defendants were respected, and that
the trials were free from political interference.
This, together with the reports from NGOs, does
give us real cause for concern, as does the
verdict of the death penalty, to which the UK is
opposed in principle. As a consequence, and
working closely with our EU counterparts, we are
urging the Chinese authorities not to carry out
the sentences imposed on those convicted.

23 April 2009: Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary
of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if
he will make representations to the Chinese
authorities to seek to halt the death sentences
recently imposed upon certain Tibetan
individuals; if he will make an assessment of
whether the judicial process which resulted in
these death sentences was in accordance with
international standards; and if he will make a statement.
Gillian Merron: We have consistently appealed to
the Chinese Government to ensure fair trials in
accordance with international standards for those
individuals arrested in connection with the
disturbances in Tibet in March 2008. We continue
to make clear our abolitionist stance on the
death penalty and to urge the Chinese authorities
to reduce its scope and application.

EDM 1373 DEATH PENALTY IN TIBET
28.04.2009  Hoey, Kate 123 signatories

That this House opposes the use of the death
penalty; condemns the recent imposition of the
death penalty by the Lhasa Intermediate People's
Court on Tibetans, Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak,
having found them guilty of arson attacks in
Lhasa in March 2008 which led to confirmed
deaths; further condemns the recent imposition of
the death penalty, each with a two year reprieve,
by the same court on Tibetans Tenzin Phuntsok,
Kangtsuk and on a 21-year-old Tibetan woman,
Penkyi, also for arson attacks in Lhasa in March
2008, which led to confirmed deaths; is concerned
that evidence against these individuals is
unsound, with one of the convicted found guilty
on the basis of a confession only months after
the UN Committee Against Torture concluded that
China regularly uses torture as a means of
extracting confessions in criminal proceedings;
is further concerned that the trials of those
named above were not conducted in accordance with
judicial standards and that the death sentences
passed are therefore unsafe; calls on the
relevant Chinese authorities to rescind the
aforementioned death sentences and to provide
unfettered access to Tibet and all
Tibetan-populated regions, including court
proceedings, for journalists, consular staff
based in Beijing and independent observers; and
further calls on the British Government publicly
to raise its concerns regarding the cases with the Chinese government.
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