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Monday, 20 December, 1999, 17:17 GMT
Bhutanese opposition wants talks with King

The Bhutanese human rights leader, Tek Nath Rizal, who has just been released from prison, says he has asked to see the King, Jigme Singhe Wangchuk, to discuss the prospect of democracy and the repatriation of thousands of Bhutanese refugees from neighbouring Nepal.

Mr Rizal told the BBC he was grateful to the international community and human rights groups for campaigning for his release.

He was jailed 10 years ago on charges of treason and was released on Friday with 40 other political prisoners.

On Sunday, Bhutanese refugee leaders and human rights activists based in Nepal gave a cautious welcome to the releases, saying they may be part of a plan by Bhutan to offset growing international criticism of its human rights record.

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