Protest in Chemgang jail

Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners (GCRPP) has expressed deep concerns on the wellbeing of over three dozen political prisoners in Thimphu’s Chemgang Central Prison following a protest on Saturday.

A report on Bhutan Broadcasting Service said inmates protested on Saturday night alleging brutality by the officer-in-charge of the jail.

In the almost two-minute video making rounds in social media, prisoners are seen in the open, protesting against the alleged brutality. The inmates have accused that the jail-in-charge beat them for no reason, every day.

As per the video posted on the Facebook page of Indo-Bhutan Nation News, a group of inmates around 50 in numbers seen shouting slogans like ‘We Want Justice’.

A statement by GCRPP said, ‘inmates were seen frustrated, victimised and helpless. The person who was anchoring the video was speaking in Dzongkha, said there are massive injustice and cruel treatment by the police authorities specially Officiating Commander (OC) Mr. Wangdi.’

Such a scene of protest inside Bhutan and that too in such a secretive prison is very rare and will definitely invite merciless suppression by the security agencies. During September 1990 tens of thousands of southern Bhutanese were forcefully evicted many killed, arrested and disappeared while participating in a peaceful demonstration appealing for justice and an end to discrimination. Thus, this unrest by the prison inmates is bound to create bloodshed in prison, the statement reads.

It further said, ‘the families of Chemgang based political prisoners and this campaign are deeply worried of the prevailing situation in the prison and appeals the Government of Bhutan, international communities and Human Rights institutions to take note of this development and make sure that all the political prisoners are safe and unharmed. The government of Bhutan must immediately provide updates on the present condition of the jail and work towards fulfilling the demands of the inmates.

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