Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bhutan: Leopard skin sellers sentenced

Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006, @ 07:06:29 EDT

11 October 2006- Three men who sold a leopard skin in Jaigaon, India, last year have been sentenced to 97 days to 149 days in prison by the Wangduephodrang court.

Lengo Gaytse from Sha Ngawang was sentenced to 149 days for not reporting to the local authority the finding of a dead leopard and for trying to trade it’s skin.
Gangla Phub Dorji, also from Sha Ngawang, and Gaytey Rinzin Dorji (in absentia) of Dalukha village in Thimphu were sentenced to 97 days each for partaking in the illegal transaction.

The illegal transaction was uncovered after a 304 page Geytongpa holy scriptures written in gold was reported missing from the altar of Dorji’s house in Sha Ngawang on March 31, 2005.

Dorji identified neighbour Nado as the suspect because of his unexpected visit to Dorji’s house on the evening the Geytongpa went missing.

Nado could not be detained on the lack of reasonable grounds.

Police later detained Gaytse, Gangla Phub Dorji and Cheygo Rinzin from Nisho gewog.

The three suspects fully corroborated their alibis to the investigating authority. It was while investigating the movements of the three suspects that the police uncovered the illegal leopard skin deal by Lengo Gaytse and Gangla Phub Dorji in collaboration with Gaytey Rinzin Dorji.

The police charged the three suspects on October 17 last year for the illegal transaction in Jaigaon.

While looking for his ox in the Bozhina jungle in Phobjikha, Lengo Gaytse came across a dead leopard, the skin of which was later smuggled out for sale.

The court concluded that the dead leopard was first found by Gaytse and then transported its skin down to Phuentsholing, jointly with Gangla Phub Dorji and Gaytey Rinzin Dorji. In Phuentsholing, Gaytey Rinzin sold the skin to an Indian customer in Jaigaon and paid Nu. 12,000 to Lengo Gaytse and Gangla Phub Dorji who shared the money.

Fully convinced the skin came from a dead leopard in the jungle the court permitted the three convicts to pay fine in lieu of the pronounced sentences.

By Rinzin Wangchuk file=article&sid=7568

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