Dili Bazaar Jail

Dili Bazaar Jail in downtown Kathmandu.

Tenzin Yangzom, a Tibetan woman who had been detained in Nepal since August 2001 while trying to return to Tibet, and her infant son, who was born in prison, have been released from detention in Kathmandu, Nepal. Their August 23 release followed an intensive international letter-writing and email campaign and the payment of a fine by a German physician in the amount of Nepalese Rupees 121,897.00, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The physician, who had been examining Tenzin Yangzom, found that Yangzom was suffering from typhoid in conjunction with her already frail physical condition. Recognizing the seriousness of her condition, the physician organized money to pay the residual fine of Nepali Currency (NC) 121,897 after a reduction NC 25 for each day of detention.

The mother and child are now both under the care of Tibetan Reception Center, where the infant has recovered from a mild gastric condition. Tenzin Yangzom is expected to travel to Dharamsala, India, once her health condition improves.

Tenzin Yangzom and eight other students from Amdo were returning to Tibet after visiting India when Nepali Security Personnel at Thangkot, the largest checkpoint at the Nepal-India border, arrested them on August 21, 2001. They were asked to pay an exorbitant amount of U.S. $1,365 per person and an additional penalty of 20,000 (NC) for illegally crossing the border. Non-payment carried a default sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Unable to pay this huge sum, the students have been lingering in prison since their detention.

Tenzin Yangzom, 19, gave birth to her son, Tenzin Dhondhup, while in prison. Her health condition became critical after giving birth. Nepalese authorities did not respond to attempts to get the mother and son released on medical parole. Several concerned human rights groups including ICT, TCHRD and individuals have been voicing protests and providing food for both the mother and the child.

Efforts are underway for the release of the remaining Tibetans in the prison. One of them, Sonam Gyaltsen Lama, is believed to be seriously ill.