KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Tibetan refugees in Nepal say they were held for weeks in police custody without charges or access to legal aid in a sign that authorities are bowing to pressure from China.

Sonam Chodon and Sonam Tashi say they were picked up after they held a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy’s visa office on March 10 and were released only this week.

They said they were held much longer than previously in what they suspect is the result of the increasing pressure from China on Nepal to clamp down on Tibetan protests.

The government on Thursday denied accusations in a report by Human Rights Watch that it is mistreating Tibetans. The Foreign Ministry says refugees cannot work in contravention of domestic laws and the nation’s foreign policy.

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