Including 23-year-old monk student Sonam Tshering, 15 persons convicted of tobacco smuggling have been released this month following a royal pardon.

Sonam Tshering

Tshering was arrested and detained on January 24 last year after he was caught with 48 packets of chewing tobacco that he purchased from India.

Later in May, a kangaroo court convicted him and passed a verdict slapping him a jail term of 3 years, and became the first tobacco criminal.

Gravity of punishment given to Tshering, who pleaded for his ignorance of tobacco law, received widespread criticism.

Even a Facebook revolt group consisting over 2500 members advocated for his release.

The Parliament had approved tobacco amendment proposal as an urgent bill last month.

Release of tobacco criminals came through a royal prerogative that allows the King to grant pardon to prisoners, assured by the so-called democratic constitution of the country under Article 2, Section 16 (C).

BNS

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