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Further information on UA 70/90 (ASA 17/07/90, 16 February) - China (Tibet Autonomous Region): fear of torture / fear of execution: Lobsang Tenzin

, Index number: ASA 17/065/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 17/65/90
Distr: UA/SC
2 November 1990
Further Information on UA 70/90 (ASA 17/07/90, 16 February) - Fear of Torture (new
concern)/Fear of Execution
(Tibet Autonomous Region): Lobsang Tenzin
There have been persistent reports that Lobsang Tenzin, a Tibetan prisoner sentenced
to death in 1989 with a two-year stay of execution, is held with his feet permanently
shackled in Drapchi, one of the main prisons of Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan
Autonomous Region (TAR). His health is said to be poor. It is not known whether Lobsang
Tenzin's family has been permitted to visit him and he is not believed to have been
given access to a lawyer or an independent medical practitioner. Amnesty International
is concerned that Lobsang Tenzin may be suffering ill-treatment in detention.
Amnesty International is also concerned that Lobsang Tenzin's death sentence
might be carried out in the next few months. A decision on whether or not to commute
his death sentence should, according to Chinese law, be made before the expiry of
the stay of execution on or shortly before 19 January 1991. To Amnesty International's
knowledge, no decision to commute his death sentence has yet been announced. Amnesty
International opposes the death penalty in all cases as the ultimate form of torture
and as a violation of the right to life.
Lobsang Tenzin, now about 25, a former student at the TAR University, was reportedly
arrested with three other men on 16 April 1988. They were subsequently accused by
the official Lhasa Radio of having been "the principal murderers" who allegedly killed
a police officer, Yuan Shisheng, at the height of riots in Lhasa on 5 March 1988.
The violent clashes followed a series of demonstrations in previous days in favour
of Tibetan independence, which coincided with the Mon Lam prayer festival, a major
religious festival in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar.
On 19 January 1989, the official New China News Agency reported that Lobsang
Tenzin had been sentenced to death with a two-year stay of execution. Although
the report did not indicate the date of the trial, it is likely to have taken place
on that day or in the previous few days. One of the co-accused, Sonam Wangdu, was
sentenced to life imprisonment and the other two men reportedly arrested on 16 April,
Tsering Dhondup and Gyaltsen Chophel, have according to private sources subsequently
received prison terms of 10 and 15 years respectively. Amnesty International has
sent successive Urgent Action appeals on behalf of Lobsang Tenzin and his co-accused:
UA 108/88 (AI Index ASA 17/06/88, 22 April 1988), and follow-ups ASA 17/09/88 (24
May 1988), ASA 17/03/89 (27 January 1989), and UA 70/90 (ASA 17/07/90 16 February
Amnesty International has documented numerous instances of torture and
ill-treatment of Tibetan prisoners in the TAR. Prisoners accused of breaking prison
rules are reportedly often shackled, sometimes hands and feet, for several days on
end. Conditions in Drapchi prison, while severe, are said to have improved in recent
months. Scores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, are held
in Drapchi prison.
According to the Criminal Law of the PRC (Articles 46 and 47), "the term for
suspending execution in a sentence of death is counted as commencing on the day the
judgment becomes final" (ie, 19 January 1989 or shortly before in Lobsang Tenzin's
case). Discussions in official Chinese legal journals on the practice of suspending
death sentences for a two-year period have pointed to different interpretations of
the law, suggesting that certain offenders who have "resisted reform in an odious
manner" might be executed before the expiry of the two-year period. Those who "truly
repent" during the two-year period have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment;
those who, in addition, demonstrate meritorious service, are given sentences of
between 15 and 20 years.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telexes/express and airmail letters:
- requesting that information on the conditions of detentions of Lobsang Tenzin
be made publicly available and that Lobsang Tenzin be given regular access to his
family, an independent medical practitioner and a lawyer of his choice;
- urging that Lobsang Tenzin's suspended death sentence be commuted;
- expressing opposition to the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the
right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment of punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Gyaincain Norbu Zhuxi (President Gyaincain Norbu
Xizang Zizhiqu Renmin TAR People's Government
Zhengfu Lhasa)
Xizang Zangzu Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China
Telexes: 68000 TLXEL CN (Please forward to Gyaincain
Norbu Zhuxi
Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme (Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme
Fuweiyuanzhang Vice-chairman
Quanguo Renmin Daibiao National People's
Dahui Beijing)
People's Republic of China
Telexes: 68014 FAOLT CN or 68007 PGVMT CN (Please
forward to Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme)
LIU Fuzhi Jianchazhang (Chief Procurator LIU Fuzhi
Zuigao Renmin Jianchayuan Supreme People's
Beijingshi Procuratorate)
People's Republic of China
JIA Rui Zongbianji (Chief editor JIA Rui
Xizang Ribao Tibet Daily
Lasashi 850000 Lhasa)
Xizang Zangzu Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China
SHAO Huaze Bianji (SHAO Huaze, editor
Renmin Ribao People's Daily
Jintaixi Lu 2 Beijing)
Chaoyangmen Wai
Beijingshi 100733
People's Republic of China
and to diplomatic representatives of the PRC in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 13 December 1990.

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