Bhutanese to file suits against ex-Bhutan king
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Human rights spokesperson for Bhutanese exiles Tek Nath Rizal today said discussions had started with the Washington DC-based Bruce Fein & Associates, Inc, a law firm in the United States, to explore lawsuits against former Bhutanese king Jigme Singye Wangchuk for torture meted out to thousands of victims.
Issuing a press statement here in Kathmandu, Rizal, a former confidante of the Bhutanese king who was jailed for years in Thimphu, said the amount in damages that might be recovered under the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA) would exceed US$ 200 million.
“It is generally believed that King Jigme has hidden assets well in excess of that sum,” the statement read. Jigme who became king in 1972 abdicated in 2008 to leave the throne to his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.
More than 100,000 Nepali speaking Bhutanese citizens, known as Lhotsampas, were forced to leave Bhutan due to state-sponsored ethnic cleansing through the late 1980s to early 1990s during Jigme’s absolute rule. Seeking refuge, the majority of refugees had entered eastern Nepal through India. More than 45,000 refugees have been resettled in eight first world countries, including the United States through the third country resettlement solution.
The TVPA allows both aliens and US citizens to make legal claims against foreign officials responsible for torture or extra-judicial killings perpetrated under the colour of foreign law.