Kangaroo court slaps 3-yr prison term to convicted monk

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The government said it has implemented the tobacco control act of Bhutan, 2010, as Thimphu district court slapped a jail term of three years on a 23-year-old monk student on Saturday.

The monk student, who is named Sonam Tshering of Semtokha Shedra Monastery, was found smuggling tobacco.

He was arrested and detained on January 24 after he was caught with 48 packets of chewing tobacco. The court verdict said, the tobacco worth Nu 120 that he purchased from India was illegal.

However, the victim confessed to the court that he was unaware of the existing law on tobacco and bought the drug for his personal consumption.

“I should be punished, but the penalty could have been lighter, as I wasn’t aware about the act,” the Kuensel wrote, quoting Tshering as saying after the verdict.

According to a press release from the court, although Tshering pleaded that he was ignorant about the law and appealed leniency for his crime, the court ruled that law surfaces after a proper legislative process, the report said.

“Ignorance of law is no excuse under the juristic principle, and that the law represents the popular will of the people,” stated the press release.

He was granted 10 working days to appeal to the high court.

16 COMMENTS

  1. THIS IS A JOKE
    THERE ARE MANY MANY HUMAN RIGHT ISSUES AND CRIMES DONE BY THE AUTHORITIES
    THIS IS A LESS CRIME THAN CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN SCHOOLS
    ANY WAY COUNTRY TO BE TOBAACCO FREE IS A GOOD THING

  2. 3 yrs prison for possessing 48 packets of chewing tobacco while the King’s grandfather and his allies go scot free , after being investigated by the Court for attempt to grab Government land in Phobjikha. This happens only in Bhutan. Unique Tobacco Law for Unique country which Bhutanese brag and proud of. My heart goes out to ordinary Bhutanese.

  3. Law is always there in Bhutan for the general public for they always have been the victims of the rigorous punishment so far.

    This is the rule of illegitimate power………….. but not the rule of law as the victimized monk must not belong to the Ngalong community.

    Arresting the innocent monk will not eradicate tobacco from Bhutan. But the long time habit of taking tobacco of those addicted ministers, secretaries and high level official for decades and decades must be investigated and brought to court if Bhutan prevails the modern democratic system in the present days.

    Do you think the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck has stopped bringing his favorite long cigar from Cuba?

  4. to all the guys who commented above:
    for you people commenting on any issue without knowing the truth, let me tell u that thre is acertain quota of tobacco products that one can buy and one should buy for himself. no one is allowed to buy above the quota or buy tobacco for business, thats y the monk is punished. ur crocodile tears will not be appreciated by even the convict.

  5. pasang serpa ji
    it is not crocodile tears
    we are the similar sons and daughters of our motherland so we are equally concerned like you are .I know you have been covered by the goverments policies making people like you believe that southern Bhutanese are antinationals .But the reality is everyone wants to live in tha society where there is respect and love .No one is differentiated in the ground of origin .
    Time is changing so is Bhutan though in slower pace.One day you and many other countrymen who are thinking like you will realise that all these thousands of your countrymen were in camps because of wrong policies of the goverment of that time .
    for now please open your your eyes and learn from others .Do not just comment but comment with logic and argue on issues .If anything I have written in my comment is not true please write on it and we will discuss
    .
    One very very good thing is you have ventured out of your shell in to the media of today .