GCRPPB welcomes release of Madhukar, calls for release of political prisoners in Bhutan – South Asia Time

GCRPPB welcomes release of Madhukar, calls for release of political prisoners in Bhutan

 August 14, 2023  

London – The Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB) has welcomed the release of Madhukar Monger, after serving 30 years as a political prisoner in Chemgang Central Prison in Bhutan.

‘Mr Monger, who was released on 9 August 2023,  safely reached his brother’s home in the Bhutanese refugee camp Beldangi, Damak, Nepal, on 11 August 2023 after he was deported to India by the escorting Royal Bhutan Police. His wife, children and parents are all resettled in the USA, and fortunately, he found his younger brother and his family in the camp; thus, currently, he is taking shelter at his brother’s hut in Beldangi camp,’ The Campaign said in a press statement. 

‘The GCRPPB is very happy to have one of its beloved brothers alive back after 30 years of rigorous imprisonment and torture. Still, the cruel act of the Bhutan Government in deporting him instantly to India despite his repeated appeal to allow him to stay in Bhutan for at least a few days to meet his friends and relatives is a gross violation of his fundamental rights for which we would like to condemn in the most substantial possible term and request International Community to question Bhutan for this inhuman treatment,’ the statement said.

Another point that needs our condemnation is that despite serving for 30 years as a political prisoner and getting released, Mr Madhukar Monger was forcefully asked to pay 21000 Ngultrums (Bhutanese Currency that is equivalent to Indian Rupees) as a fine and was forced to bear the cost of transportation to the Indo-Bhutan border in Phuentsholing Bhutan. As per prison law, Bhutan must pay the cost of transporting the released prisoner to his destination before handing formally over to his family members. But in Mr Monger’s case, he was just dumped into India without bothering about his further welfare. 

According to Mr Monger, the situation of political prisoners back in Chemgang Central Prison is quite deplorable. Political prisoners, namely Damber Singh Pulami, Ganga Ram Dhakal, Mani Kumar Pradhan, Omnath Adhikari and San Man Gurung, are suffering from various chronic illnesses that was caused due to the rigorous torture during their early prison years. Though the prison rules mention free medicines to the inmates, they are often asked to buy medicines themselves, the statement said.

The already scarcity-ridden ration was recently further decreased. As a result, the political prisoners are forced to survive with half a stomach of food. “I survived for 30 years of rigorous imprisonment with luck, but I feel apprehensive now about how my friends can survive there with less food and other facilities”, said Madhukar Monger. “The only reason that makes me and other friends live in prison is the hope of getting released soon, but that soon never comes, and in my case, 30 years became that soon, ” said Mr Monger.

Madhukar Mongar was arrested on 11 February 1994 and sentenced to 30 years alleging him of involving in political activities. He was then put behind bars in Chemgang Central Prison. 

The GCRPPB) has thanked Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, European Union, Nepali and international Media and everyone for supporting the campaign to help release Bhutanese Political Prisoners.

“We appeal His Majesty, The King of Bhutan, to grant amnesty to all the Bhutanese Political Prisoners without further delay. Until all of them are safely released, GCRPPB requests that the Bhutan government provide them with enough rations, and proper and free medical treatment, including free-of-cost medicines,” said Ram Karki, Coordinator, of The Hague-based Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB).

The GCRPPB says at least 38 Bhutanese Political prisoners are still languishing in various jails in Bhutan on fabricated charges without proper trial.