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  Herders tried, family member beaten amid high tension and tight security
November 14, 2013
New York
Six Mongolian herders were tried Wednesday in Ongiud Banner for the alleged "sabotaging production and management" (SMHRIC photo)


More than a hundred herders demanded to enter the courtroom to attend trial. Riot police barred them from entering the courtroom (SMHRIC photo)  
Amid the escalating tension between the Mongolian herders and the Chinese authorities, six Mongolian herders, Mr. Tulguur, Mr. Tugusbayar, Mr. Jargalt, Mr. Nasandalai, Mr. Munkhbayar and Mr. Ulaanbar, stood trial Wednesday before a court in eastern Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Ongniud Banner. Five trucks full of riot police arrived to the court with batons and riffles in hand. Ms.Sarangowaa, wife of the herders’ leader Tulguur, was beaten unconscious with an electric baton at the entrance of the court as riot police attempted to bar family members and herders from entering the courtroom.

“The trial started at 9:00 am and adjourned around 8:30 pm with a 40-minute lunch break,” Ms.Longmei, sister of Tulguur, told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) in a phone interview.

“Eight attorneys, four Mongolian and four Chinese, defended the six herders at the trial,” Longmei said of the trial proceedings.

“The prosecutors apparently lack sufficient evidence to support their allegations. Yet the overall tune suggests that the outcome is predetermined like any typical sham trial.” Longmei is worried that “the defendants will likely receive long jail sentences.”

“When I arrived at the court entrance, more than a hundred Mongolian herders were there demanding to attend the trial,” Sarangoawaa stated during her phone interview with SMHRIC. “Fully armed riot police tried to push us away after allowing only about 30 herders to enter the courtroom,” she went on to describe the tense atmosphere.

“As a family member, I refused to leave. The police beat me with an electronic baton, rendering me unconscious for about 15 minutes before I was allowed to attend the trial along with other herders,” Sarangowaa expressed her outrage.

Ms.Sobdoo, Mr.Tugusbayar’s sister, who also attended the trial, suggested that the outcome of the trial might have already been decided by the authorities. “I think our attorneys did a great job defending the herders. But my impression is that everything seems to be decided behind the scene,” Sobdoo told SMRHIC over the phone with disappointment.

All three family members revealed to SMHRIC that the six herders are in poor health as a result of more than five months of detention. “We were not allowed to talk and get close to them,” Sarangowaa stated, sounding emotional when asked about the herders’ health conditions. “It was so heartbreaking that they looked thin and pale but with handcuffs on their hands.”

“We are ready to appeal to the higher court if they are found guilty,” Longmei is determined to pursue the case until it is decided in a just manner. “No media coverage was allowed here. It is our only hope that international attention to the case might positively affect the outcome of the trial,” Longmei added.

At the request from the defendants and family members, the court proceedings were carried out in Mongolian. Those who could not speak Mongolian spoke through a Mongolian interpreter hired by the court.



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