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ACTION: Tashi Rabten sentenced to four years PDF Print E-mail
Tashi Rabten, a student who wrote about the 2008 protests in Tibet, has been given a four year prison sentence for inciting activities to split the nation. According to Radio Free Asia, the sentencing took place on 2 June by Ngaba Intermediate Court following a trial which was closed to family and friends. Tashi Rabten was one of six prisoners and detainees whose cases were highlighted during the Tibet Mass Lobby in the UK in March.

Tashi RabtenTashi was detained on 6 April 2010 and has been held in custody since. At the time the reason for his arrest was not clear, but was believed to have been related to his political activities. Under the pen name 'Theurang' Tashi edited "Shar Dungri" (Eastern Snow Mountain), a literary magazine on the 2008 protests in Tibet which was banned by the Chinese authorities. Tashi also wrote a book of political essays entitled Written in Blood, which was also banned and copies of which confiscated.

Tashi is from Dzoege County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province and was a student at the Northwest Nationalities University in Lanzhou at the time of his detention.

In December 2010, the same court sentenced three Tibetans whose articles were published in "Shar Dungri". The three writers, Dhonkho (pen name: Nyen), Bhudha (pen name: Buddha the Destitute) and Kelsang Jinpa (pen name: Garmi), all wrote essays in 2008 about the crackdown in Tibet. According to Radio Free Asia,  Dhonkho and Bhudha were sentenced to four years in prison, and Kelsang Jinpa to three years, for "incitement to split the nation". The defendants, their lawyers and families were all denied the opportunity to speak in court during the time of the sentencing.

Further reading:
Phayul: 4 year prison term for Tibetan writer (4 June)
ICT: Three more Tibetan writers sentenced to prison (21 January)

Take Action
Write to Jeremy Browne, Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for human rights, asking him to call on the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release Tashi Rabten, given Tashi's alleged crime was to merely express his opinion via a literary journal.

Also, as the Foreign Office is currently conducting programmes in China on due legal processes, request Mr Browne:
  to ask the Chinese authorities why Tashi Rabten's trial was closed and not open and transparent as guaranteed under the international rule of law.
  to ascertain the circumstances of Tashi Rabten's detention and trial, and request China give assurances that he has been and continues to be treated according to internationally accepted standards.
  to ask the Chinese government to give permission for British officials to visit Tashi Rabten in prison so they can verify his well-being.

Write to Jeremy Browne, using the FCO's online feedback form or send a letter to:
Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH

(Note: If you live outside the UK please write to your own government's department dealing with foreign affairs and make similar requests.)

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 20; Overseas 32; Life 400).

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