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Tibetan filmmaker and 2 monks denied legal representation
Phayul[Saturday, July 18, 2009 22:57]
Dharamsala, July 18 – The Chinese government has denied the right of legal representation to three Tibetans currently under imprisonment, according to a blog maintained by Beijing based noted Tibetan writer and poet Tsering Woser.

Dhondup Wangchen who was arrested for his film “Leaving Fear Behind”, documenting the Tibetan people’s opposition to the Chinese government policies and loyalty to the Dalai Lama, was denied the right to be represented by the Beijing based lawyer hired by his family.

International campaign for Tibet says Dhondup is in poor health, suffering from Hepatitis B. According to his wife, who lives in exile, he is not receiving any medical treatment.

Meanwhile, Tsuiltrim Gyatso and Thabkhay Gyatso, both monks of Labrang Tashi Khyil Monastery, have also been denied the right to be represented by lawyer chosen by their families. Tsuiltrim was earlier sentenced to life imprisonment and Thabkhay to 15 years in jail in May by Gannan Prefecture Intermediate People’s Court in Gansu province. The two are currently held at Gansu Province State Security Department detention center.

Dhondup Wangchen’s family had hired Li Dunyong, a Beijing based Chinese lawyer, who earlier visited the Tibetan filmmaker at the detention center in Xining but was stopped by the local Chinese authorities and law authorities in Beijing. Li was told he could not take up Dhondup’s case. The authorities told him that a local lawyer under the same jurisdiction as the court where the court is pending must handle Dhondup’s case.

The families of Tsuiltrim and Thabkhay had hired a Beijing based Chinese lawyer named Li Fangping who earlier on June 18 had met with the monks’ families and submitted documents related to the case and his certification to the court which had heard the monks’ cases earlier.

Li had attempted to meet with the monks the same day but was not allowed by the Chinese authorities who told Li that he would require permission of the court.

On July 6, Li traveled to Lanzhou and met with judge Zhang who tried the monks at their second appearance in Gansu higher people’s court. Judge Zhang told Li that the monks had already chosen their lawyers and that there was no need for another lawyer from Beijing to represent them. The brothers of the two monks then filed a petition to Gansu people’s court expressing their displeasure over the situation and appealed that Li be allowed to represent the monks.
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