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British Minister and the EU Condemn the Executions of Two Tibetans in Lhasa

November 4, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tibet Society
London 30 October


BRITISH MINISTER AND THE EU CONDEMN THE EXECUTIONS OF TWO TIBETANS IN LHASA

MPs call on the government to act over its
concerns on due legal processes in these cases

 From Tibet Society [London 30 October]

In response to Foreign Office Minister of State,
Ivan Lewis’s swift condemnation of the execution
of two Tibetans in Lhasa on 20 October, British
MPs have tabled Early Day Motion 2150 “Executions
in Lhasa” that calls on the Government to
urgently to follow up its stated concerns about
lack of due process in the cases of Lobsang
Gyaltsen and Loyak, the two Tibetans executed. It
also seeks verification of continuing reports
that two further Tibetans were executed at the same time.

On contacting the Foreign Office for
clarification, Tibet Society has been told the
Foreign Office received confirmation from the
Chinese Embassy in London on Friday 23 October
that two executions took place and the
individuals executed were Loyak and Lobsang
Gyaltsen. The Chinese Embassy also said reports
of two further executions were rumours; the
Foreign Office has since been told the other
death sentences are suspended, and there are no
plans now to carry out further executions. In a
regular press briefing on Tuesday 27 October,
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu also
confirmed "two criminals" had been executed,
although he did not give their names. He went on
to refer to Ivan Lewis's statement saying "no one
had the right to interfere in China's legal process."

However, reports received by Tibetan NGOs and
other organisations continue to indicate there
were two further executions carried out on the
same day, one person being named as a young
Tibetan girl, Penkyi. Members of the All Party
Parliamentary Group for Tibet will be pressing
the government to urgently seek clarification on
the whereabouts of the three Tibetans who in
April this year each received a death sentence
with a two year reprieve, namely Tenzin Phuntsok,
Kangtsuk and Penkyi from Sakya County.

The original trials of the defendants took place
in April this year. 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.”

Speaking of the fears Tibetans have about the
fate of Penkyi and the as yet un-named Tibetan
man, Philippa Carrick, Chief Executive of Tibet
Society, said “that the Chinese authorities felt
they could go ahead and execute two Tibetans
despite the British government and the EU both
voicing concerns about the legal processes and
whether the trials were free of political
interference is incredibly worrying and
indicative that China feels itself to be immune
from accountability. It is time for world
governments to work together to hold China to
account for its actions and to ensure its so
called commitment to improving civil, human and
legal rights is meaningful and not simply window
dressing. I am encouraged that Ivan Lewis spoke
out swiftly and strongly to condemn the
executions and urge the British government to
take a lead on verifying the whereabouts and well
being of the three Tibetans who each received a
death sentence with a two year reprieve in April.”

The Presidency on behalf of the European Union
issued a statement on 29 October condemning the
two executions, reiterating “its concerns about
the conditions under which the trials were
conducted, especially with regard to whether due
process and other safeguards for a fair trial were respected.”

[ends]

For background / further information contact:

Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society: 07941 105485 Email: philippa@tibetsociety.com

Harry Cohen MP, Chairman, All Party Parliamentary
Group for Tibet: 020 7219 4137; 020 7219 2813

Norman Baker MP, Vice-Chair, All Party
Parliamentary Group for Tibet: 020 7219 5138 / Constituency: 01273 480 268

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.

EDM 2150 Executions in Lhasa, Tibet, 20 October
2009; Tabled 26.10.2009 by Harry Cohen

That this House is shocked and saddened by the
news of the deplorable judicial executions of
Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak in Lhasa on 20 October
2009; fully supports the Minister of State's
condemnation of these executions and the doubts
expressed in his Statement on the lack of due
legal processes in these cases; calls on the
Government urgently to follow up its concerns
about lack of due process; further urges the
Government to state clearly what measures it will
take to ensure the Chinese government reviews the
cases of those who remain under sentence of death
for their alleged involvement in last year's
unrest; and further calls on the Government to
obtain clarification on reports that two further
Tibetans were executed at the same time and, if
the report is verified, under what legal
processes these executions were carried out since
there is no information on any other Tibetans
having received death sentences without reprieve.

Statement by Minister of State, Ivan Lewis

Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis condemned the
recent executions in Lhasa of two Tibetans, Mr
Lobsang Gyaltsen and Mr Loyak, on Friday 23
October. Ivan Lewis also called on China to
urgently review the cases of those who remain under sentence of death.

He said: "I condemn the recent executions in
Lhasa of two Tibetans, Mr Lobsang Gyaltsen and Mr
Loyak. We respect China's right to bring those
responsible for the violence in Tibet last year
to justice. But the UK opposes the death penalty
in all circumstances, and we have consistently
raised our concerns about lack of due process in these cases in particular.

I expressed my deep concern about these cases
during my visit to Tibet in September and urged
the authorities not to carry out the death
sentence. We have also raised these concerns through the European Union.

I call on China to review urgently the cases of
those who remain under sentence of death for
their alleged involvement in last year’s unrest."

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the
European Union regarding the recent executions of
two Tibetans; Mr Lobsang Gyaltsen and Mr Loyak

[Brussels, 29 October 2009; 15132/09 (Presse 313); P 120/09]

The European Union condemns the recent executions
of two Tibetans, Mr Lobsang Gyaltsen and Mr Loyak.

On the basis of its principled opposition to the
death penalty, the EU, on 8 May 2009, called for
a commutation of the death sentences handed down
by Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court to several
Tibetans, among them Mr Lobsang Gyaltsen and Mr
Loyak, following the Lhasa riots in March 2008.

The EU respects China’s right to bring those
responsible for the violence to justice but
reaffirms its longstanding opposition to the use
of the death penalty under all circumstances. The
EU also recalls that in case the death penalty is
maintained, internationally recognised minimum
standards must be respected. These include all
possible safeguards to ensure a fair trial and
adequate representation. The EU reiterates its
concerns about the conditions under which the
trials were conducted, especially with regard to
whether due process and other safeguards for a fair trial were respected.

The EU calls on China to commute all sentences of
death imposed on persons for their alleged
involvement in the Lhasa riots in March 2008.

The EU continues to call on the Chinese
authorities to abolish the death penalty
completely and, as a first step, to establish a
moratorium as urged by the United Nations General
Assembly in its resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the
Countries of the Stabilisation and Association
Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the EFTA
countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway,
members of the European Economic Area, as well as
the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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 prior to the executions

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.

___________________________________________
The Tibet Society
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