The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has released a new report titled “Unjust Sentence: A Special Report on Trulku Tenzin Delek” to coincide with the 45th anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day on 10 March 2004. TCHRD has already released a similar report in Tibetan language on 2 December 2003.
This 66-page report gives an overview of background of Trulku Tenzin Delek, events leading to his arrest and thereafter, unfair legal proceedings and representations, execution and reaffirmation of death penalty, and provisions and violations with regard to trial and death penalty within Chinese constitution as well as international laws. The report is based primarily on information provided by students, followers and residents of Turlku’s hometown, highlighted in international and Tibetan media, and mentioned in reports of various governments and thematic bodies of the United Nations.
On 2 December 2003, Kardze Intermediate People’s Court in the Kardze “Tibet Autonomous Prefecture” (“TAP”) of Sichuan Province sentenced Trulku Tenzin Delek (a.k.a A ngag Tashi) to death with a suspension of two years for “causing explosions” and “inciting separatism”. Lobsang Dhondup, 28, a follower and distant relative of Trulku Tenzin Delek, received an immediate death penalty and life-long deprivation of political rights for“inciting separatism”, “causing explosions” and “illegal possession of guns and ammunition”. Lobsang Dhondup was executed on 26 January 2003. Trulku Tenzin Delek is currently in detention. The trial was held without due process behind closed doors and considered unfair by international NGOs including Amnesty International.
In response to an official demarche by European Union over Trulku Tenzin Delek’s case in early 2004, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had indicated, “his death sentence would be calculated from the date the judgment became final and could be commuted to a lesser sentence”, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. Article 50 of the Chinese Criminal Law provides that “if it is verified that [he] has committed an intentional crime, the death penalty shall be executed upon verification and approval of the Supreme People’s Court. Then another provision within the law states that a death sentence can be commuted to life in prison if the prisoner undertakes “no intentional crime during the period of suspension” and that if “major meritorious service is truly performed, punishment shall be commuted to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than 15 years but not more than 20 years.”
Although the Chinese constitution provides for fundamental human rights, these protections are more than often ignored in practice. The most common form of human rights abuses includes arbitrary arrest and detention, lengthy incommunicado detention, and denial of due process. In most political cases, the judicial system denies the defendants basic legal rights and due process because authorities attach higher priority to maintaining public order and suppressing political opposition than enforcing legal norms. With such perverse rules of legal process in operation, a high incidence of wrongful conviction becomes a virtual certainty.
TCHRD believes that Trulku Tenzin Delek is framed with false allegations of involvement in bombing incidents. According to information received by TCHRD from reliable sources, he was under close scrutiny by Chinese authorities for his strong support of Tibetan culture and religion, his rising popularity in the local Tibetan community, his staunch support for Tibet’s leader in exile, the Dalai Lama and his teachings, and his social welfare activities in Lithang County including setting up orphanages, schools and old people’s home, constructing monasteries and resolving community disputes.
TCHRD urges the Beijing leadership to free Trulku Tenzin Delek unconditionally, to improve the legal system and to provide him with fair re-trial. Above all, TCHRD strongly believes that Trulku Tenzin Delek is innocent of the charges labelled against him and he should be free.