Tibetans hail Nepal’s release of three jailed leaders

July 8th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  


Kathmandu, July 8 (IANS) Tibetans in Kathmandu Tuesday hailed the release of three jailed community leaders, including two women, after Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to free them. Kelsang Chung, who headed the Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre here, a transit home for refugees fleeing Tibet for India, and Tashi Dolma and Ngawang Sangmo, the president and vice-president respectively of a Tibetan women’s organisation, were freed from the two prisons in the capital where they were being held after a controversial arrest last month.

The three were among the nearly one dozen people the Nepal police in plainclothes tried to arrest last month, following pressure by the Chinese government to take harsher measures against Tibetans protesting Beijing’s alleged atrocities in Tibet.

All three were arrested from their homes and sent to prison for 90 days on the charge that they were posing a threat to public security and were trying to mar the ties between Nepal and China.

The others, who managed to evade arrest included the representative of the Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of the Tibetans, in Nepal.

It was the first time that Nepal’s government ordered such an unprecedented harsh measure, which was condemned by the US and the Eropean Union (EU).

Supreme Court judges Top Bahadur Magar and Min Bahadur Rajamajhi Monday ruled that the three had not posed any threat to security or endangered Nepal-China ties.

“We welcome the decision of the court,” said a Tibetan who wanted to be identified only as Jigme.

“The court upholds Tibetans’ right to conduct peaceful protests, and strikes a blow for human rights.”

Since March, Tibetans worldwide began protests, leading to violence in Lhasa in which the diaspora claim over 200 unarmed protesters died.

The community in Nepal has kept up the protests despite excessive use of force by the Nepal police.

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