Two Tibetan Women Released on Bail; Homes Searched by Police
Tibetan Community in Britain welcomes the release of Sonam and Jamphel, two Tibetan women who were taken into police custody on the afternoon of 21 October 2015 for peacefully protesting against Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mansion House. We also stand in solidarity with Shao Jiang, Chinese activist and Tiananmen Square survivor, who was arrested and released at around the same time.Sonam, 31, and Jamphel, 33, were released on bail on 22 October 2015 at around 4pm from Bishopsgate police station to a crowd of supporters and well wishers.
“Whilst I welcome Sonam and Jamphel’s release, these two Tibetan women should never have been arrested in the first place,” said Tsering Passang, Chairman of the Tibetan Community in Britain. “Metropolitan Police have completely overreacted to Sonam and Jamphel’s small and spontaneous protest. I am appalled that their homes were searched in the night of 21 October while they were in police custody. Any belongings of their’s confiscated ,such as laptops, phones and USB sticks should be immediately returned.”
The solicitor representing Sonam and Jamphel, Bill Nash of BSB Solicitors said:
“My clients were arrested for what was a peaceful and what many would see as a legitimate non-violent protest concerning the treatment of their country by the Chinese regime. Despite the fact that no one suggests that any violence was contemplated or offered a decision was taken to further arrest for an offence of Conspiracy to contravene section 5 of the Public Order Act of 1986. In over 40 years of legal practice I have never previously heard of an arrest for such an offence. This smacks of overreaction to a considerable degree. Perhaps it is time that we should focus some of our concentration on our own civil liberties at the same time as we criticise others for their stance on human rights.”
Sonam and Jamphel said in a joint statement,
“We’d like to thank all Tibetans and supporters who have expressed their concern for us. We spontaneously decided to wave our Tibetan flags and make a stand on behalf of Tibetans in Tibet who do not have this right. We never expected to be arrested or to have to spend 24 hours in police custody. Even though this is nothing compared to what Tibetans in Tibet have to live through every day, the Metropolitan Police should allow all Tibetans and supporters to freely protest without fear of arrest.
Surely the signing of billions of pounds in trade deals by the UK did not include signing away this fundamental right of all British citizens but in particular silencing Tibetans.”
(1) For details and photos of Sonam and Jamphel’s protest and arrest, see: http://tibetancommunityuk.net/
(2) Photo attached, left to right, Tsering Passang (Chairman of TCB), Jamphel, Wangdue Tsering (Office of Tibet), Sonam, Thenlay
Tibetan Community in Britain
C/o Tibet House
1 Culworth Street
London, NW8 7AF