The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) welcomes the news of the release of Jigme of Labrang Monastery on 3 May 2009.
Jigme, a 42-year-old monk was born to a farming family in Lhutang Village, Juicha Township, Sangchu County (Ch: Sangchu Xian) Kanlho “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’) Gansu Province. At the age of 13, he was ordained monk in Labrang Monastery. While in the monastery he mastered Thangka Painting (religious scroll painting), art of making butter sculpture and playing various monastic musical instruments. He once heads the Labrang Monastery’s vocational training centre and was even a vice-chairman of the Democratic Management Committee (DMC) of Labrang Monastery at the time of his arrest.
Jigme was first arrested on 22 March 2008 by four armed forces while returning to his monastery from a market. He was later detained and tortured for two months in the detention centre for his suspected role in one of the biggest protests that took place in Labrang on 14 March 2008. Jigme was later released on medical ground after months of detention.
Last year, on 3rd September, the Voice of America’s Tibetan News service aired a video featuring Jigme giving detail accounts of Tibetan people’s aspiration, hopes, torture and inhuman treatment meted out to Labrang Monks who were detained during last year’s March Protest in Labrang County. Following his testimony, he went into hiding for almost two months. Finally on 4 November 2008, scores of People’s Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials in several military trucks came to Labrang and arrested Jigme from a Tibetan home and took him away in a military vehicle to an undisclosed location where he had been detained since then. According to the information received by the Centre, Jigme looks very frail when he reached home after months in detention.
TCHRD calls upon the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to immediately release all the prisoners of conscience arbitrarily detained over peaceful exercise of their fundamental human rights. There are still hundreds of Tibetans whose whereabouts and status are unknown to their family members and close associates. The government of the PRC should guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Tibetan detainees and ensured that detainee’s family members are informed of their whereabouts and wellbeing