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China releases Jampel Jangchub after 16 years in jail

prison_jampel_jangchubThe Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirm information that Jampel Jangchub -member of the “Group of Ten”- has been freed around 7 March 2005. He was released after 16 years and four months imprisonment in Drapchi Prison. Jampelis now 43 years old and is reported to  be suffering from heart and kidney ailments after years of torture and maltreatment in the prison.

Background information

Jampel Jangchub was born in Toelung Dechen County to the south of Lhasa City, “Tibet Autonomous Region”(“TAR”). He attended an elementary school for three years and later helped in the family field work.

In 1983, he joined the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. In the monastery, Jampel and twenty other monks planed to stage a demonstration against the Chinese rule in Tibet.     He drew three Tibetan national flags for the demonstration. On 27 September 1987, the group staged the demonstration  which became the first political protest after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959.   After making three rounds of the Barkhor  market (the market area around the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa), the demonstrators proceeded towards the Headquarter of the “TAR” Government. Upon reaching the gate of the “TAR” Government Headquarter, officers from the Public Security Bureau (“PSB”) arrested the monks and 38 other Tibetans participating in the demonstration.  They  were detained at Lhasa PSB Detention Centre. However, on 22 February 1988, after four months detention, they were released  upon  the late Panchen Lama’s intervention and repeated appeals from the monks of the three great monasteries  -Sera, Drepung and Gaden Monastery-in Lhasa.

Upon release, Jampel went back to his monastery. In the monastery, ten out of the original 21 monks formed a clandestine pro-independence organization called the “Group of Ten” to work further for the freedom of Tibet and human rights of the Tibetan people.  The group pasted posters with slogans calling  “Independence for Tibet”. They also distributed translation copies of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The ever vigilant Chinese PSB officers unearthed their activities and began arresting the members one by one. In the night of 8 March 1989, Jampel and some other members of the “Group of Ten” were arrested from the monastery. They were taken to Lhasa PSB Detention Centre and in the following few days, the other members were also arrested and brought to the Detention Centre. During interrogations, they were severely beaten and tortured.

On 28 November 1989, around 1500 Tibetans were called to the Lhasa City Government Hall to witness the sentencing of the members of the “Group of Ten” and set an example to others against engaging in freedom activities. Lhasa People’s Intermediate Court sentenced Jampel and the other members of the “Group of Ten” to varying imprisonment terms between  5-19 years. Jampel Jangchub was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment term and 5 years deprivation of political rights on charges of “forming counter-revolutionary group”, “counter-revolutionary activities”, and “collecting secret intelligence”. In January 1990, Jampel and other members of the “Group of Ten” were transferred to Drapchi Prison to serve their sentence.

In Drapchi, the prison officials subjected him to torture and hard labour. In 1993, he received three years sentence reduction on the ground of his good work in the vegetable field of Drapchi Prison.

After spending 16 years and four months in prison, Jampel Jangchub was released on 7 March 2005. It is reported that he is suffering from heart and kidney ailments after years of torture and maltreatment in the prison.

Except for Ngawang Phulchung, leader of the “Group of Ten” , the other nine members are now released over the years upon completion of their terms. Ngawang is currently imprisoned in Drapchi Prison serving a 19 year term.  His sentence expires in 2008. He will be 50 years old when he will be released.


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