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Tibetan Monks carry their national flag and shout slogans as a group of journalists, invited to an official visit by the local government, arrived at the Labrang Monestry, eastern Tibet, April 9, 2008. Photo: TPIDharamshala: Two Tibetans who were earlier sentenced on 21 May 2009 by the Kanlho Intermediate People s Court to life and another to 15 years  imprisonment terms were denied access to family members since their detention more than a year, according to information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Tsultrim Gyatso, a 37-year-old from Yig-jang Village in Labrang (Ch: Xiahe) County, and Thabkhay Gyatso, 34, from Sangkag Village in Labrang County were detained for their participation in the 15 March protest that took place in Labrang last year. Both Tsultrim and Thabkhay are monks of Labrang Monastery in Sangchu County, Gannan  Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture  ( TAP ) Gansu Province. Tsultrim Gyatso immediately left Sangchu County after the demonstration to avoid arrest but was eventually tracked down and arrested by Drungchu County Public Security Bureau (PSB) personnel on 22 May 2008. There is no clear information on Thabkhay Gyatso s place and date of detention.

Last Thursday, on 21 May 2009 Gannan (Tib: Kanlho) Intermediate People s Court sentenced Tsultrim Gyatso to life imprisonment whereas Thabkhay Gyatso was sentenced to 15 years  imprisonment term on charges of  endangering the state security. 

According to sources, both Tsultrim and Thabkhay were not only denied access to their family members but also their family members were not informed about the court trial that took place last Thursday. Family members are known to be very worried about their well being as they have not seen their sons for more than a year, sources told TCHRD.

It is highly condemnable that like many other detainees in Tibet, both Tsultrim and Thabkhay were completely denied access to their family members. Under such circumstances it is highly doubtful whether the defendants ever received anything remotely like international standard for fair trial such as adequate legal representation of their choice. According to the latest information, Thabkhay Gyatso who is known to be suffering from severe appendicitis is recovering in Tsoe Government hospital after successful minor surgery. No family members were allowed to meet him in the hospital.

TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to allow immediate access to their family members and to ensure in all circumstances to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of the two in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international human rights instruments that People s Republic of China is a state party.

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