Dharamsala, August 23 – A cousin of the jailed Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen has said the efforts of international rights groups and Tibet supporters had a positive effect in postponing the trial which many feared would take place at the start of the month. Gyaljong Tsetrin, Dhondup’s cousin who co-produced the film, said the worldwide campaigns for Dhondup Wangchen had culminated into the “coordinated EU initiative”
Meanwhile, Tibet Support Groups told Gyajong Tsetrin that the EU Forum, a coordinating body of EU governments, had discussed the case of Dhondup Wangchen and agreed to launch a coordinated effort to discuss the case with their Chinese counterparts.
Dhondup Wangchen, 35, was arrested in March 2008 for making the documentary, “Leaving Fear Behind”. There is an apparent fear among Tibetans and activists alike that Dhondup Wangchen might be sentenced to up to 15 years of imprisonment. Dhondup’s film “leaving fear behind” documents the Tibetan resentment against Chinese rule and features interviews with Tibetans that sharply criticize the Chinese government policies in Tibet.
Charged with “inciting separatism”, Wangchen was recently denied the right to be represented by the lawyer chosen by his family. His wife, living in Dharamsala, recently said she feared her husband who suffers from hepatitis B is not given proper medical care in the prison.
Amnesty International had earlier reported that the prosecutor had submitted the case to the court, and family members including his sister had received a call to appear at the court on 1 August 2009. She went to the court but was
surprisingly sent back.
Gyaljong Tsetrin said, “I am grateful to the EU governments and hope that they continue to maintain the pressure and keep an eye on the case and actively engage the Chinese government in a manner to guarantee Dhondup a fair trial.”