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Bhutan's 'Nelson Mandela' Released after 17 yrs

Bhutan's 'Nelson Mandela' Released after 17 yrs in Prison

Bhutanese democratic fighter Dhan Kumar Rai, who was slapped life sentence by the Bhutanese regime on charges of treason, has finally been released after 17 years imprisonment inside Chemgang jail in Bhutan, reports Kantipur Daily.

Rai, who is suffering from severe mental illness problem due to the tortures inflicted upon him while inside the prison, was taken to Kathmandu on Friday for medical treatment.

Called the Bhutanese "Nelson Mandela" for serving such a long period in jail, Rai, along with four other ethnic Nepali political prisoners, were freed on Nov 1 by the Druk regime.

The international Red Cross Society and various other human rights organisations had exerted pressure on the Druk regime for the release of Rai, who is also the founding general secretary of Bhutan's People's Party (BPP) which is fighting for respectful return of Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal and establishment of democracy in Bhutan.

Rai, a resident of Pakahagaun in southern Bhutan's Samchi district mostly dominated by ethnic Nepalis, was arrested by the Indian police from Dooars region in West Bengal state on Nov 17, 1991 and extradited to Bhutan. At the time of arrest. Rai was 28 years old and living a life of a political exile in India.

"The Bhutanese ruler has not changed a bit," Rai told the daily while talking about plans of regrouping with his friends to launch a democratic movement in Bhutan. "I don't see any other option than to revolt."

According to him, there are still over 100 political prisoners in captivity of the Bhutan Government. ag Nov 15 08


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