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China delays Tibet writer's trial: advocacy group

Chinese authorities have delayed the trial [press release] of prominent Tibetan writer Tra Gyal, according to a Friday release by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) [advocacy website]. According to the group, Tra Gyal has been held in Xining No. 1 Detention Center without contact from his family or treatment for several medical conditions. ICT suggested the delay may have occurred because authorities are either seeking more evidence, or are reconsidering the basis for the prosecution. Tra Gyal was arrested in April [JURIST report] after he signed a letter critical of the Chinese government's relief efforts following the recent earthquake in the western Qinghai [Xinhua backgrounder] province. Another motivation for his arrest, according to ICT, is related to the publication of The Line between Sky and Earth, a book that is critical of Chinese policy in Tibet and describes the 2008 Tibetan demonstrations [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] as a "reawakening of Tibetan national consciousness and solidarity." Tra Gyal, who writes under the pseudonym Zhogs Dung, was reportedly arrested [AP report] while working at the Nationalities Publishing House in the provincial capital Xining.

Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] charged that Chinese authorities used excessive force [JURIST report] in responding to the and tortured those in custody following the demonstrations in violation of international law. In a report, "I Saw It With My Own Eyes" [materials], HRW said that the Chinese government violated the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials [text], which limits the use of force to that which is strictly necessary to protect life or to apprehend perpetrators of violent crimes. The Chinese government also violated international law in its handling of suspects held for involvement in the demonstrations by torturing and brutalizing them, not revealing the conditions in which suspects were held and not allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [advocacy website] to visit them, according to HRW. It went on to call for the Chinese government to release of all Tibetan detainees that have not been charged with a crime and to release accurate statistics about all Tibetans held and about the number of casualties.

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