Dili Bazaar Jail

Dili Bazaar Jail in downtown Kathmandu.

Three Tibetans, who had arrived in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, after escaping Nepalese border guards, were detained by the Nepalese Immigration authorities in mid-December 2002, according to delayed information reaching the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

TCHRD reported on December 25 that the three Tibetans – 15-year-old boy Samdup, 15-year-old girl Yanglha Tso and 30-year-old man Tashi — had entered Nepal in the first week of December with the help of guides.

After being robbed and abandoned at the border by the guides, the three traveled on their own to Boudhnath, near Kathmandu, after escaping detention at a check post in Barabise near the Nepal-Tibet border.

However, in Boudhnath, they were detained by Nepalese police and handed over to the Immigration authorities.

TCHRD said the Tibetan Reception Centre (TRC) had sought the intervention of the Office of the UN High Commission for Refugees. The Reception Centre in Kathmandu is the nodal point, which works in conjunction with the UNHCR, to provide housing and other assistance to Tibetans escaping from Tibet.

TCHRD said Tashi and Samdup were transferred to Dilli Bazaar Jail while Yanglha Tso is detained in Central Jail in Kathmandu.Following is the full text of the TCHRD statement. The “tong xin zhang” referred to in the statement seems to be Tong Xing Zheng (“Travel Pass”), which is the general name for travel permits that are issued by the Chinese authorities.

Tibetan Centre For Human Rights And Democracy


Dharamsala 25 December 2002: According to reliable information from Kathmandu, Nepali Border Police recently arrested three Tibetans, two juveniles and an adult. The three: Tashi (30), male, Samdup (15) male and Yanglha Tso (15) female are from Amdo Labrang in Gansu Province.

The three had left Tibet with tong xin zhang, a travel document that enables asylum seekers to approach Tibet’s southern border region, Dram. In the first week of December 2002 they hired a Nepali guide for 2000 yuan each and left Dram for Nepal. At the Nepal border, the guide abandoned them robbing off all their belongings with him.

On 13 December 2002, as they continued their way, Nepali Border Police stopped them at Barabise check post. After approximately two hours’ detention, they managed to run away and board a local bus that took them to Kathmandu City. They hired a taxi to go to Boudhanath and as they were getting down, two ordinary looking people caught them. They said something, which the three did not understand. Since they could not communicate a word in Nepali, the two men immediately took them and handed them over to the Boudhanath Police.

No sooner did the news reach Tibetan Reception Centre (TRC) than the staff members there sought immediate intervention of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). For three days the matter could not be resolved as it fell on the weekend. On 16 December, Boudhanath police handed the three to the Nepali Immigration Department. The case was again reported to the UNHCR to secure their release before any charge sheets were laid. Under normal circumstances, newly arrived refugees taken by the Immigration Department are easily released following the UNHCR’s intervention. However this was not to be the case for the three Tibetans this time.

On 17 December 2002, the Immigration Department issued court paper where it was stated that the three detainees would remain in jail until further investigations “pursuant to the Immigration Act 2049 Chapter 8(2), [their] imprisonment has been extended on 2059/9/2 (17th Dec 2002) with a provision of ration as per the law, according to the Civil Code, Rule of Judicial Proceeding no. 121.”

The same day, Tashi and Samdup were transferred to Dilli Bazaar Jail. Yanglha Tso was detained in Central Jail in Kathmandu.