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China: Four Tibetan Children's rights at imminent risk of torture

Four Tibetan Children's rights aged 15 years, detained since 7 September in Gansu province, are at grave risk of torture and mistreatment on suspicion of writing pro-Tibetan independence slogans, said Amnesty International today. A fifth child, 14 years old, is in hospital suffering severe head injuries received in detention.

Amnesty International has received reports that electric prods have been used on the Children's rights and that Chopa Kyab, one of the Children's rights still in detention, is being taken away at night and has been severely traumatised by his treatment.

On 7 September some 40 Children's rights were detained by police in Xiahe county, Gannan prefecture, Gansu province, for exercising their right to freedom of expression. All but seven of the Children's rights were released from police custody within 48 hours. Two of these seven Children's rights, aged 14 years old, were later released after payments were made by their families to the police, believed to be in the amount of 2000 yuan (US$250). Another boy, aged 14 years, believed to be called Lhamo Tseten, was allowed to go to hospital for treatment of severe wounds to the head received in detention, also after payments to the police.

Public Security Bureau officials are reportedly demanding payment for the release of the remaining four boys still in custody, said to be more than 20,000 yuan ($2500). It appears that the police will not release any of the boys until full payment is made for all of them. However, Children's rights released after payment by their families may be rearrested shortly after, in a pattern previously observed by local residents.

Amnesty demands the immediate release of the four Children's rights still in detention, and calls on the Chinese authorities to launch an investigation into the brutal treatment of the Children's rights, and into the reports of corrupt practices by local police demanding payment from families for the release of those in detention. The Children's rights should be given immediate medical treatment and be protected from further abuse.

Amnesty International has long-standing concerns about arbitrary detention without charge, trial or judicial review, as well as torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Tibet.

Freedom of religion, expression and association continue to be severely restricted in Tibet, and as result many are imprisoned for peacefully exercising their basic human rights. As elsewhere in China, arbitrary detentions, unfair trials,torture and ill-treatment remain commonplace.

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