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Tibetans seek Buddhist monk's release on parole
Phayul[Tuesday, April 07, 2015 22:13]
April 7, 2015 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
April 7, 2015 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, April 7: Tibetan exiles and supporters today urged the international community to secure the release of a Tibetan Buddhist leader jailed by China in alleged connection with a bomb blast incidents in 2002.

Students for a Free Tibet-India and Trulku Tenzin Delek Service Community, a group of former students of Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, started a campaign seeking the release on medical parole of Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the 65 year old religious figure and a philanthropist.

An activist dressed as a doctor stood with an appeal poster outside a makeshift prison inside which another activist with Trulku’s mask sat locked up.

Speaker of the Tibetan parliament Penpa Tsering attended the event as the chief guest. Also accompanying him on the dias were Bawa Kelsang Gyalsten, MP, and Delek Yangchen, a Tibetan nun and former student of Trulku.

"Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has been in prison for 13 years and is known to be in extremely poor health with a serious heart condition and high blood pressure," said Yunten Lobsang, a former student of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

"During a rare visit to see Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, his family spoke to a doctor who told them that he believed Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had a serious heart condition for which he needed surgery," he added.

An official petition for medical parole was made by Tenzin Delek’s family in 2014 for his release on medical parole for which Trulku is qualified under the Chinese law. Authorities have not responded to the application nor have they granted visitation rights to the family so far.

April 7, 2015 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
April 7, 2015 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
“Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s case reflects the dire situation of Tibetans living under Chinese occupation. Over last 13 years, the Chinese government has rejected the plea of thousands of Tibetans inside and outside calling for the release of this innocent Tibetan monk and community leader,” said Dorjee Tseten, Students for a Free Tibet Asia Director. “We urge world leaders to pressure the Chinese government to release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on Medical Parole so that he can receive medical care.”

Charged with “crimes of terror and incitement of separatism,” Tenzin Delek was sentenced to death, with a 2-year reprieve, on 2 December 2002 by the Kardze (CH: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate People's Court. His conviction was based on a confession obtained under torture from his alleged accomplice and his nephew, Lobsang Dhondup, who was sentenced to death and executed on 26 January 2003. Tenzin Delek’s death sentence was commuted to a life sentence in 2005, and subsequently reduced to 20 years. During the trial, no evidence other than the confession of Lobsang Dondrup was presented as Tenzin Delek maintained his innocence throughout.

“Later this year the United Nations Committee Against Torture will review China’s compliance with the Convention against Torture. The level of violence directed at Tibetan political prisoners is extreme and results in Tibetans being left with severe scars following a period of detention, including paralysis, loss of limbs, organ damage, and serious psychological trauma. Tibetans, whose lives might have been saved following torture, often die because of deliberate withholding of medical treatment. This is in contravention of both international and Chinese Criminal Law regarding medical access for detainees,” said Dorjee.

Speaker Penpa Tsering launched a new book on the life of Trulku published by the organization comprising of former students of the monk.

People signed a joint petition from the International Tibet Network, a global coalition of 180 non-governmental organizations, appealing to world governments to urgently pursue the medical parole of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The petitions will be delivered to Foreign Ministers of various governments on 21 June, which is the International Day for Victims of Torture.
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