The Pulami family was forced out of their home in Sarbang in Bhutan in 1991, and was settled in Beldangi camp in Nepal’s Jhapa district. But its members are scattered all over: his father died at camp, mother is in the US with his two brothers, while two other brothers have been in detention in Chemgang for the past 21 years.
One of the brothers is Dambar Pulami, now 58. His wife Sabitra, son, daughters and daughter-in-law are all in the US. Dambar also had a betel nut business in Bhutan, and decided to go back to take care of it, but was arrested and got a 43 year sentence. Sabitra had met her husband in Chemgang with the help of the ICRC before she and the children left for the US in 2011.
“Even if it’s just for the future of our children, he should be allowed to join us,” Sabitra, 55, says on the phone from her new home in Pennsylvania in the US. “We have not heard from him for ten years. I pray that we will get to meet in this lifetime.”
Like Dambar, his fellow inmates Bhim Bahadur Rai and Mani Kumar Pradhan both have 43 year sentences, which is nearly three times more than a life sentence, according to a list provided by Bhutan Human Right Watch and the Campaign to Release Bhutanese Political Prisoners.