GCRPPB calls for proper treatment and reunion of Pulami

Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB) has asked the Government of Bhutan to take urgent measures for the welfare of political prisoner Damber Singh Pulami, who is in critical condition.

GCRPPB said the government must ensure the best available medical treatment and ensure he is fully recovered and once recovered, arrange to reunite with his wife and children in their resettled country. GCRPPB said it is happy to advocate at the US political office seeking approval for the reunion of the Pulami family on humanitarian grounds.

Pulami, serving 43 years of jail in Chemgang Central Prison in Thimphu, has been seriously ill and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital in Thimphu on 17 May 2022. He is an ICRC recognised political prisoner (ICRC registration number 000397).

GCRPPB quoted a hospital source saying senior Royal Bhutan Police officers are forcing Pulami’s distant relatives currently living in Bhutan to bear the responsibility and take him to their home.

In its 2004 annual report on Human Rights in Bhutan, US State Department noted that a Bhutanese political activist, Pulami, a registered Bhutanese Refugee from Timai Camp in eastern Nepal, was arrested by the security forces in Bhutan in May 2001. The report further mentioned that he entered Bhutan to check on the internal resettlement of Non-Nepali speaking people in the South. He was falsely charged with extortion, kidnapping, murder, and subversive activities.

Pulami was detained at Chemgang Central Prison in Thimphu, since his arrest. He was inflicted to inhuman physical and mental torture and became seriously sick on several occasions but has survived on all such occasions. 

His wife, Sabitra Pulami, was resettled in the United States along with their two sons and one daughter in 2011. During her last visit to see her husband, brokered by ICRC before flying for resettlement, she was shocked to see the deteriorating health condition of her erstwhile healthy husband. She said that her husband was looking pale and malnourished.

Pulami’s father, Amber Bahadur Pulami, died 25 years ago in the refugee camp. His mother, Ram Maya Pulami, died in 2020 in the US. They had expressed their last wishes to see their son’s face before death. Their last wishes remained unfulfilled for all time to come, said Mrs Pulami with tears in her eyes.

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