Thursday, June 5, 2008

16 Monks Arrested in Tibet Bombings

Monks arrested

This is an extremely important article. The situation requires constant observation and perseverance from international rights and watchdog groups.

If the monks are involved with bombs, even if their cause is just, and even if the destruction is only to property, still this must stop. The current world situation needs to purge violent activity from all religious activists.

If the monks have been subject to torture or questionable interrogation and confession seeking tactics, it is vital that all people and organizations of conscience stay vigilant and bring these realities to the light of day!

HONG KONG — The police in Tibet have arrested 16 Buddhist monks and accused them of involvement in three bombings, a police spokesman in northeastern Tibet said Thursday.

All three involved homemade explosives and caused only property damage, no deaths or injuries, the spokesman said in a telephone interview.

The spokesman, in Qamdo, Tibet, declined to give his name and referred further questions to the Tibet Department of Public Security headquarters in Lhasa, where a press officer said that he had no information.

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, reported Thursday that the Tibet Department of Public Security had arrested the 16 monks on May 12 and 13 in connection with bombings on April 5, 8 and 15 in villages near Qamdo.

All of the monks have admitted their guilt, according to Xinhua.

Human rights activists and Tibetan exile groups have repeatedly accused Chinese security forces of using torture to extract confessions. The police in China also frequently delay announcing arrests until confessions have been obtained.

Nicolas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch said that while he had no specific information on the monks under arrest, he was doubtful that their treatment would meet international standards.

“We have no confidence that these people get due process, and in particular the issue of confession is always tricky, because of the use of pretrial torture and coercion in China,” he said.

Judges in Tibet have also been outspoken in saying that their goal is to try cases as quickly as possible and preserve the territorial integrity of China. “They don’t pretend that they’re giving people a fair trial, they say they are fighting separatism,” Mr. Bequelin said.

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