EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 14/01/97
UA 241/97 Fear of torture/ill-treatment 28 July 1997
BHUTANTempa Rabgye (29)
Kinzang Dorji (37)
Amnesty International fears that two religious teachers recently arrested by
the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) are at risk of torture or ill-treatment while
in police custody.
Tempa Rabgye, a 29-year-old religious teacher from Gomdar Shugang Monastery,
Samdrup Jonkhar district, eastern Bhutan, was arrested by RBP officers on 26
July 1997 in Samdrup Jonkhar town and reportedly taken into custody at Samdrup
Jonkhar police station.
Kinzang Dorji, a 37-year-old religious teacher from Kheri Gompa Monastery,
Pema Gatshel district, eastern Bhutan, was also arrested by RBP officers on
27 July in Pema Gatshel and reportedly also taken into custody at Samdrup Jonkhar
They are yet to be charged with any offence and they have not been given access
to a jabmi, a legal adviser, or their families.
Tempa Rabgye and Kinzang Dorji are reported to be members of the Druk National
Congress (DNC), a political organization set up in exile in Nepal. Allegedly,
they are also supporters of Rongthong Kunley Dorji, the founder of the DNC,
who is currently detained in India where he is opposing his extradition to
Bhutan. Amnesty International fears that, as a result of their membership
of the DNC and given their association with Rongthong Kunley Dorji, Tempa Rabgye
and Kinzang Dorji may be tortured or ill-treated while in police custody possibly
to extract from them the names of other DNC supporters.
The fear that Tempa Rabgye and Kinzang Dorji could be tortured or ill-treated
in police custody is heightened by recent reports that four members of the
DNC were tortured by police shortly after their arrest in eastern Bhutan in
early February 1997. According to a relative of one of them, the four men,
Taw Tshering, Tshampa Wangchuck, Tshampa Ngawang Tenzin and Chhipon Samten
Lhendup, currently detained at Tashi Yangtshi prison, were held completely
naked for one week in very low temperatures. Rongthong Kunley Dorji himself
was tortured by members of the Royal Bhutan Bodyguards after his arrest, in
1991, on charges of treason.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/express/airmail letters in English
or your own language:
- expressing concern that Tempa Rabgye and Kinzang Dorji may face torture or
ill-treatment while in police custody;
- urging the authorities to grant Tempa Rabgye and Kinzang Dorji immediate
access to a jabmi and their family;
- asking the grounds on which Tempa Rabgye and Kinzang Dorji are held.
Lyonpo Dago Tshering
Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs