Tibetan Monks Family Insist on His Innocence

2005-01-27
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WASHINGTON—Relatives of a jailed Tibetan monk whose death sentence was commuted this week insisted Thursday that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is innocent and called for more international pressure on Beijing to release him.

"We have never accepted that [Tenzin Delek] Rinpoche is guilty," said one relative in the Kham region of Sichuan Province, a traditionally Tibetan area that now falls under the administration of Sichuan Province in southwestern China.

"He has been in prison for two years and no one has been allowed to see him. We cannot accept such a decision. If they found him guilty, they need to provide evidence," the relative said. "We are extremely disappointed. We would like to appeal to all organizations and nations to continue their support and campaign for Rinpoche's release."

We have never accepted that [Tenzin Delek] Rinpoche is guilty...He has been in prison for two years and no one has been allowed to see him. We cannot accept such a decision... We are extremely disappointed. We would like to appeal to all organizations and nations to continue their support and campaign for Rinpoche's release.

Another relative, also in Sichuan, said she hadn't received any word of his fate either.

"I didn't hear anything. In the last two years, not a single person from our side has been allowed to see our lama," she said. "We also don't know where he is detained. Even this time we were not informed about the decision. Nobody knew and everything is quiet here."

'We are worried'

"My wish and hope is to see him. We did ask the local Chinese officials, but they claimed that they didn't know anything. They assured us they will inform us if any decision was made," she said.

Both relatives asked not to be named.

We are really worried, and we have many concerns to express but there is no way to express anything. It is well known that our Lama is innocent. He committed no crime... We know America and other nations supported him in the past. We are very thankful and please support for release. There is not even a single person with him to help.

"We are really worried, and we have many concerns to express but there is no way to express anything. It is well known that our Lama is innocent. He committed no crime," she said. "We know America and other nations supported him in the past. We are very thankful and please support his release. There is not even a single person with him to help."

On Jan. 26, the Sichuan Province high court announced that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche would be spared the death penalty but spend the rest of his life in prison. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's conviction and sentencing in connection with a series of bombings in Sichuan prompted an international outcry.

The official Xinhua news agency said the court had commuted the sentence because Tenzin Delek Rinpoche obeyed unspecified legal conditions during a two-year reprieve.

Smuggled audio tape

In January 2003, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche made an audio tape that was smuggled out of prison to RFA's Tibetan service, in which he reiterated his innocence.

Another man, Lobsang Dhondup, was simultaneously sentenced to death in the same case and executed on Jan. 26, 2003.

In its 2003 report on human rights around the world, the U.S. State Department said the Chinese government's human rights record in Tibetan areas of China "remained poor, although some positive developments continued."

"The trials of both Lobsang Dhondup and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche were closed to the public on 'state secrets' grounds, and they were denied due process, including access to adequate representation," the report said.

"Lobsang Dhondup's execution the same day he lost his appeal to the Sichuan Provincial Higher People's Court, as well as the failure of the national-level Supreme People's Court to review the case as promised to foreign officials, raised serious concerns in the international community."

RFA news in Tibetan

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