[23 August 2013]
A Tibetan nomad, Dolma Gyab, has been sentenced to death for the alleged murder of his wife, who self-immolated on 13 March in Ngaba, eastern Tibet. It is feared torture may have been used to extract a confession from the accused and the verdict influenced by political circumstances. This is the second death sentence to be handed to a Tibetan in relation to a self-immolation, and indicates the Chinese government is continuing its hard-line stance against self-immolation protests.
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Please write to the Chinese Ambassador in the UK, and call on the Chinese government to:
immediately suspend the death sentence of Dolma Gyab and review the case in an open and transparent manner.
to allow Dolma Gyab the due process of law, including the right to appeal his sentence and the right to choose his own lawyer for the appeal.
º to clarify what evidence was used to convict Dolma Gyab, other than his confession which it is feared was obtained through torture.
º to ensure that Dolma Gyab is not tortured or mistreated whilst in detention and is allowed visits from his family and independent observers such as foreign diplomats.
In the UK write to:.
Name: Ambassador Liu Xiaoming
Address: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL
Note: The Embassy occasionally disables this email address (so your email is returned). If that is the case please try political-at-chinese-embassy.org.uk and/or press-at-chinese-embassy.org.uk. If these fail please write a letter.
Outside the UK: check the Chinese government's webpage listing embassies for contact details of your nearest ambassador and embassy.
If you receive a reply please send a copy to Tibet Society - email paul-at-tibetsociety.com or post to Tibet Society, Unit 9, 139 Fonthill Road, London N4 3HF.
Note: Tibet Society has informed the Foreign Office of this case and our concerns and asked they make urgent enquiries to their Chinese counterparts. In addition, Tibet Society has asked that a representative from the British Embassy in Beijing or Consulate in Chonqing visits Dolma Gyab to ensure that he not being mistreated and has access to his lawyer and family.
On 15 August, the Intermediate People's Court in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), Amdo (incorporated into China's Sichuan province), sentenced Dolma Gyab (pictured right), 32, to death for the murder of his wife Kunchok Wangmo. According to Xinhua, China's state news agency, "The court found that at 11pm on March 11, Drolma Gya [sic] choked his 29-year-old wife Kunchok Wangmo to death with a scarf in their apartment in Zoige County following an argument over his drinking."
Xinhua's report stated that Dolma Gyab had confessed to his crime and that the trial lasted just three hours. It also noted Dolma Gyab as saying he would appeal the verdict at the Sichuan Provincial Higher People's Court.
According to Chinese law the case must be reviewed by a higher court. If the death sentence is upheld Dolma Gyab is likely to be executed shortly afterwards.
Original reports by Tibetan exile organisations stated that Kunchok Wangmo self-immolated at about midnight on 13 March in Dzoge (Ch: Ruanggui) county, Ngaba prefecture, the day before Xi Jinping’s appointment as President of the People's Republic of China.
Local Tibetans reported that Kunchok Wangmo died at the scene and her body was taken away and cremated by Chinese authorities. Her ashes were returned the following day to her family. According to local sources quoted by Radio Free Asia, Dolma Kyab was arrested on 14 March after he refused to comply with police orders to blame the self-immolation on family problems.
On 20 March, Xinhua published an article on their Chinese language site claiming that prior to Kunchok Wangmo's death, the couple had argued over Dolma Kyab's supposed “gambling, marital relations and other issues”.
Further details of the incident and subsequent arrest have not been available due to the Chinese government's strict control of information from Tibet and the regular blocking of communication channels in Tibetan regions.
Further reading: RFA I Xinhua I ICT I TCHRD I Phayul
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