Bangri Tsamtrul Rinpoche, a reincarnated lama and founder of the Gyatso orphanage home, was due for release on 31 July this year after serving 18 years of life imprisonment in Chushur (Ch: Qushui) County Prison near Lhasa.
A long-serving Tibetan political prisoner, Dawa Gyaltsen, now about 47, was released two years earlier than the expected date for exhibiting “good behaviour”, according to information received by TCHRD from exile Tibetan sources having local contacts in Tibet.
He was serving an 18-year prison term when he was released sometime last month. The exact release date cannot be ascertained immediately. The former bank accountant was first detained for distributing and pasting Tibetan independence leaflets.
There has been no statement yet from Chinese authorities regarding Dawa Gyaltsen’s release two years before the expected date. However, Tibetan sources say Dawa Gyaltsen (Ch: Dawa Jianzan) is in poor health, with the limp in one of his legs having worsened over the years due to ill-treatment and torture in prison for 17 years.
A prominent Tibetan political prisoner, Jigme Gyatso, 52, was released recently after completing his 17 years’ prison term, according to exile Tibetan sources.
After his release, he is said to be in poor health struggling with multiple medical problems including weak eyesight, heart complications, kidney disorder and difficulty walking: all unmistakable signs that he had undergone years of torture, mistreatment and beatings during his imprisonment.
In April 2009, TCHRD issued an urgent statement calling for Jigme Gyatso’s release on medical grounds, after learning that Gyatso was seriously ill.[i] TCHRD’s concerns were based on the long history of Gyatso’s mistreatment and torture in detention centres and prisons in Tibet. Moreover, in February 2009, when relatives met Gyatso at Drapchi Prison Hospital, he appeared very frail and was suffering from a kidney problem. He could only walk with his back bended.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has received information from a reliable source that, Rinzin Wangyal a.k.a Rinwang, 59, died in prison at the end of 2004. There has been no official confirmation of Rinzin Wangyal’s death. It has been reported that his body was not handed over his family.
Rinzin was serving a life imprisonment term in Pawo Tramo Prison, 250 km east of Lhasa. According to the most recent information received by TCHRD on 31 May 2004, his health condition was known to have gravely deteriorated due to constant torture over the years in prison.
TCHRD received confirmed information that Namdrol Lhamo, one of the last two Drapchi 14 nuns in prison, was released in September 2003. She is reportedly in Lhasa City and in bad health condition. Namdrol was released upon completion of her 12 years’ imprisonment term.
Namdrol Lhamo and many other political prisoners arrested in late 1980s and early 90s are now being released on completion of their respective terms. Most of them suffer long-term illnesses even after release as a result of prison atrocities. The released prisoners face utter hardship in resettling in the society as they are put under severe vigilance and bound in invisible chains.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) today released a report entitled “Drapchi Prison: Tibet’s Most Dreaded Prison”. The 70-page report provides insight into one of the most notorious prisons in Chinese-occupied Tibet based on reliable information gathered over the years.
“Through this report, one can discern the contradiction between the official Chinese statement with that of actual reality concerning the prison condition, treatment of prisoners, and total number of Tibetan political prisoners within Tibet,” stated Mr. Lobsang Nyandak Zayul, the Executive Director of TCHRD.
The year 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Ironically, in Drapchi Prison the same year, Chinese prison guards and Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials violated all human rights norms with the use of brutal force on Tibetan prisoners. On the ill-fated days of 1 and 4 May 1998, the unarmed prisoners…
Torture against Tibetan political prisoners has been used as a method of repression since the Chinese occupied Tibet in the 1950s. Despite China’s claim that it adheres to international law which effectively bars the use of torture, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has gathered numerous testimonies from former political prisoners which demonstrate that torture is still…
Lhakpa Tsering was born in Lhasa in 1970. Just 20 years later, on December 13, 1990, he died in Drapchi Prison from sicknesses and injuries resulting from prolonged torture in detention. Despite repeated appeals from his fellow inmates regarding Lhakpa’s critical condition, prison doctors were still refusing him medical attention in the last days before his death. As a boy,…
Jamphel Monlam, also known as Dadul, is 30 years old. Jamphel’s desire to be part of Tibet’s freedom struggle was strong and he became involved in a political group in Drepung monastery, resulting in a five year imprisonment. Yet Jamphel says it was not the years behind bars that were the worst but the life after release. Release did not…
Phuntsok Gonpo, a 25 year old former Drepung monk, spent five years in Drapchi Prison. He is one of the many Tibetans who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Phuntsok describes some of the miseries suffered by political prisoners in Drapchi: specially designed torture techniques; forced prison “exercise” ; restricted visits; and stifling conditions…