Sonam’s lawyer

Sonam Tshering now has legal help. Ritu Raj Chhetri, an accomplished lawyer and ex-PDP candidate, has agreed to represent him free of charge.

Earlier today, I went to the detention center to meet Sonam, and to introduce him to his legal counsel.

I’m hopeful.


Facebook Comments:


  1. lindawangmo says

    Respected Honorable Opposition Leader

    Ever since Sonam Tshering has been arrested your Blog has been full of support for him and the whole town talks about him. But what disturbed me was ppl hardly talk about the secound catch, the driver, no one knows about him, does he have no relatives or friends. Are you backing sonam Tshering because he is a haap, or because as a plain Bhutanese Citizen. If its because of the first one than I think you ask the MP from the drivers village to help him and for the Later one I think you should look into the Matter.

  2. this is great news. i’ve been wondering since his arrest in december, what has been the status of the charges against him – a criminal complaint filed, hearings conducted already, opportunity for bail given, or has he been just under detention since december,

  3. dear OL,
    why did you not mention the other person. why do you only care for sonam. is it true that he is from your constituency and a relative as well? please tell us.

    at least be honest about your intentions instead of trying to start a movement based on political and personal motives.

    if you think the tobacco act is “draconian”, then defend all that have been caught violating it.

  4. OL, in a way, you are making joke of our constitution and the law. You were part of the parliament that passed the Tobacco Act and now you make this noise.

    Only today, I am knowing that you push so much of saving Sonam Tshering because he is a Haap.

    Are you trying to fool the public with your foolish notion?

  5. @ypenjor: y dont u ascertain da facts properly before u blabber ur stinking mouth against someone who is trying to help.OL was da one who described this act as ‘draconian’ n the questioning of him voting for it doesnt feature anywhere…cheers.

  6. Penjor

    If you have done your homework you truly can say a little better than this. Yes the law was passed from the National Assembly and OL Voted against the law. the Law was a Zaberzasti law by the DPT because of the majority. Even MP Kabjip Tp voted for it and as one of the law maker himself I saw him still smoking… where does he get the sticks?

    Sonam Tshering is a Haap and he is from OLS constituency and his whole family probably voted for him and as an MP from that Place I feel its the Job of OL to push and do all possible.

  7. Its is good that some one is fighting for him but we also should stick to the govt. rules made for us and same time govt. should make sure that the rules should be implemented to every Bhutanese citizen…

    There are still tobaccos can be get in black market and i think first we have to stop that… some are making big money through black market.

    it is sad that for worth of Nu.100 tobacco he will be sentence for 3 – 5 years but what bout those people selling and making big money…?

  8. Linda,
    Thanks for your observation. I see ground work needs to be done by everyone.

    OL I am sure has voted against passing the law. It is needless to mention. He will vote against for the sake of voting against DPT whether the law is genuine or not. My observation here is where did OL hibernate until the case of Sonam Tshering surfaced. If he is genuinely against passing of the Tobacco law itself, he should voice his concern or mobilize support of the public the very time he comes out fo the Assembly hall.

    If OL is supporting ST because he stands for the consituency, then the issue also needs to be tabled as MP of lower Haa constinuency, not as OL. As OL, he also should be supporting the Taxi driver as you have put in your earlier comment.

    Then, please do not get mislead with MP Tshering Penjor’s smoking habit with this topic. The topic here is OL’s genuine concern over the Tobacco Act and the public. Not on any individual who is smoking or not smoking.

    I am not concerned who is smoking and not smoking. As a citizen of this nation, my concern is the applicability of any law across the scoiety, its implications and genuine justifications in supporting or opposing the provisions of the laws.

    I need to see a genuine and broad concern in OL before I agree with his points and support his movement. I do not take blessings blindly from Lams because people call him Rinpochey.

  9. Hon’ble OL,
    I appreciate you trying to help out a citizen from your Constituency. That is kind of you. The question is, does someone who breaks the law deserve any helping? Imagine what sort of citizens will fill our country if there were 72 law breakers every year and all were helped and freed by 72 MPs (NA+NC). At the end of 5 years, at least 360 criminals would be freely walking along with the god-fearing and law-abiding citizens. Would that be fair? NO. Further, if Sonam Tshering is that monk who tried to smuggle tobacco, the punishment must be more severe. Forget about helping him.

  10. thuenpapuenshi says

    It seems that the Law was passed specially to punish Sonam Tshering, a monk from Haa according to OL and his supporters’ argument. It could have been any one of us if we don’t respect our laws or pretend to be ignorant. Remeber OL’s new year’s wish – that a MP be the first to go to prison. Well, his wish seems to have backfired!

  11. Congrats OL for being able to get a renowned layer in the country….. but why did explode this issue in the public like this, if you ever want to hire a lawyer for him.
    If he gets out of the prisons like this, then all the criminals should get linked to a minister or high level officer so that you can commit crime and get out… and the other chap does not know meaning that he will be in the prison ena la.

    We hope that lawyer will be able to release him without imprisonment and other chap will be in prison……

    OL reported in his first report on this that Sonam Tshering looked so frightened and felt sympathy on him. But as far as I am concerned, anyone detained in a prison will look the same because everyone experience and will not any way enjoy happiness there.

    Further, Sonam Tshering a monk by profession and he may have to look after only his parents but what about the other… he is driver by profession and may have spouse and children and their family to look after……

  12. I see a big message in BigHelper’s comments for our OL and his supporters digestion. Do not attempt to seggregate societies by marginalzing the laws of the land. This will be a huge risk for the Ngalops.

    Gelong Sonam Tshering is now known to be a Haap. What happens if the Cab driver is a Sharchop or a Bumtap or a Trongsab or a Khengpa or a Lhotshampa.

    Let law be a law passed by the law makers and let the judiciary interpret and implement it.

  13. Fuentsho says

    for me, if the court acquits sonam tshering certainly there is a grave flaw in interpreting laws of the land. just like the one between HC and SC.

  14. Hear Me Bhutan says

    What’s wrong with the PDP goverment. three years for possession of few packets of chewing tobbaco? what good is delivery of justice when the justice itself lacks logic and ethics.would the justice be same if it weren’t sonam tshering but some body close to the law makers? i bet it is one reckless act to instill fear in the minds of the people for breaching this law, but at the cost of this innocent life? anyway, the import tax on luxury cars had the public going mad over PDP, and now, one has no idea how enraged is the bhutanese public. PDP has no doubt lost the next general election to DPT before even fighting. HAIL DPT!!!!

  15. Law of course is the will of people and we are bound to abide by it. However, the Ministry of Health while coming up with Tobacco Control Act, I feel the views or public consultation were never held to avoid to such disagreement over the latest punishment over Sonam Tshering which majority of the people express as harsh punishment. While coming up with any law, I think it’s procedurally correct and very important to have public consultation to gather their views or comments because the end users are people. If consultation was done with the public, many participants might have disagreed with penalty provision of the act since the act really does not differentiate the minor and severe crime which all law does.
    The public official who are paid for their service when strongly breach the trust of our government to siphon and embezzle millions of public money are sometimes punish very lightly. Why our government is not interested to impose harsh penalty for such corrupt official rather than innocent. I found only one corruption offence is graded under 4th degree felony and rest all misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor. Which is very serious, a public official involved in siphoning millions of governments money which is supposed to benefit the society through developmental activities or a person carrying a packet of tobacco which hardly cost nu.40 or 10. Which should have harsh penalty, Tobacco Control Act or Anti- Corruption Act?
    Even in ethics and law, “Let the punishment fit the crime” is the proportionality principle of punishment versus crime that the severity of penalty for a misdeed or wrongdoing should be reasonable and proportionate to the severity of the infraction or crime. The crime’s level of severity need to be determined by the amount of harm, unfair advantage or moral imbalance the crime caused. Is this proportionality principle of punishment versus crime being followed by our Ministry of Health, parliamentarians while introducing this Tobacco Control Act and has NA followed while discussing and amending Anti- Corruption Act? If this principle is being followed, the penalty for corruption should be high and not for Tobacco Control Act. What is the motives our parliamentarians to enact a law that effects individual (tobacco) to penalize very harshly and a corruption that undermines democracy and effects society very much to penalize with light penalty or punishment.
    Please, this is my genuine submission to the parliamentarians to enact Tobacco Control Act. When someone is penalized with heavy punishment for light crime and light punishment for heavy crime, I don’t see any justice prevailing in this soil. It’s wrong on the law makers to enact such law that is very unreasonable.

  16. i think we are being too selfish, if the law was passed kepping in mind the religious point of view- then as far as iam concern no religion book says about punishing a people for the benifit of another person. people smoke – they smoke for there own reason.And one thing is when they passed the law they justified the law by saying that it will save million of lives. although am not a expert at this kind of thing but smoking can have effect lo si, i mean passive smoking, bt how do you justify chewing tobacho, when it doesnt harm anyone near you- isnt that contradict with the fundamental right of a person mena


  1. […] Sonam’s Lawyer generated a lot of questions about why I was so interested in helping Sonam Tshering, the first Bhutanese to be detained under the Tobacco Control Act. […]

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