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China deports 10 pro-Tibet activists

world Updated: Aug 25, 2008 13:26 IST

DPA
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China has deported all 10 pro-Tibet activists it arrested for protesting or helping to organise protests during the Beijing Olympics, releasing them before the end of their 10-day detention following pressure from the US embassy, a US-based Tibet rights group said on Monday.

"All 10 have been deported. They were deported (Sunday evening in Beijing) before the end of the closing ceremony," said Heather Reddick, an international operations director for the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet.

All 10 are from the group. Eight are Americans and they landed around noon on Monday in Los Angeles, Reddick said. The other two - a Tibetan-German and a Briton - will reach home on Monday night, she said.

"They're a little worn, but fine," said Reddick, whose group received telephone contact from members of the detained.

Reddick said it was difficult to know whether any of the detained activists was mistreated, since the group has had no communications with the detained since they were arrested last week.

"We did have a sense from the little information we have that there was some mistreatment," she said without elaborating.

They were all released short of their extra-judicial sentence.

Following a series of protests by the activists, China deported most of the 50 foreign pro-Tibet activists who came to China to highlight the suppression of Tibetans during the Olympic Games. But it ordered the 10 activists to 10 days of administrative detention without trial, which is allowed under Chinese law.

The US embassy in Beijing on Saturday issued a statement urging China to release the group immediately, appealing to China to demonstrate respect for human rights and expressing disappointment "that China has not used the occasion of the Olympics to demonstrate greater tolerance and openness".