Six political prisoners released
Bhutan released six political prisoners on 6 April, who had been languishing in the Chemgang Central Prison for decades.
Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB), which has been campaigning for the release of political prisoners for the last several years, expressed happiness over such a development. GCRPPB had appealed to the King and requested the government where Bhutanese are resettled to use their diplomatic relations to put pressure on Bhutan to release the political prisoners. It had presented its case to the office of the UN Human Rights Commission.
Tshewang Rinzin, who was the Dungpa (sub-divisional officer) in eastern Bhutan, was arrested on 31 July 1998 due to his involvement with a political party based in exile. Rinzin was sentenced to life. After his release, he has been reunited with his family in Bhutan. Rinzin was granted amnesty by the king
Kharka Bahadur Mongar was arrested on 9 February 2008 from Singye under Sarpang district for suspecting his involvement in political activities under the direction of political parties in exile. He was sentenced to 15 years prison term.
Other arrested from the same village include Bala Ram Chamling, Nayendra Prasad Kharel, Ghana Shyam Gurung and Ram Bahadur Khulal. Chamling was arrested on 10 February 2008, Kharel on 4 February 2008, Gurung on 2 February 2008 and Khulala on 9 February 2008. All of them were alleged to have affiliation with the exiled political parties based in Nepal and were sentenced to 15 years in jail.
All the political prisoners have been reunited with their families in Bhutan following their release.
Bala Ram Chamling from Singye in Sarpang Bhutan was arrested on 10 February 2008 on allegation of this affiliation with an exile-based political party. Other arrested Similarly, Nayendra Prasad Kharel from the same village was arrested on 4 February 2008,
He was sentenced to 15 years prison term.
With this release, there are still 49 political prisoners still serving in Bhutanese prisons.
GCRPPB Coordinator Ram Karki reiterated an appeal to the King of Bhutan to release all the political prisoners languishing in various prisons in Bhutan. Druk National Congress in a press release welcomed the release of the political prisoners. The DNC reiterated that Bhutan must release all political prisoners unconditionally as they were imprisoned for demanding human rights and democracy prior to the institution of democracy in 2008.
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