14/12/2019

Tibetan monk sentenced to 12 years for ‘inciting separatism’

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Tsangyang Gyatso
Tsangyang Gyatso

A senior Tibetan monk who was the chief chant master/presiding priest (Tib: umze) at his monastery has been given 12 years sentence in Sog (Ch: Suo) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region.

Tsangyang Gyatso, the former umze of Drilda Monastery, located at Trido Township in Sog County, was sentenced early this month on charges that he “contacted outsiders” and “incited other monks to protest against the Chinese government”, according to information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

“We learned today [27 October] from our source that it’s been 26 days since Tsangyang Gyatso was sentenced, a source with contacts in Tibet told TCHRD. “Fifteen days after the sentencing, both Tsangyang Gyatso’s family and monastery received a letter from the authorities informing them about the sentencing.”

The source further said that the letter barred family and friends from visiting Tsangyang Gyatso in prison for the first three months. For the visits to happen after three months, his family and relatives have to produce permanent residential ID cards (Tib: Yulmi Thobthang Lagkyer; Ch: Shen Feng Teng), in addition to guarantee letters from Trido Township and Sog County government offices. Tsangyang Gyatso is being held at Chushur Prison located in the outskirts of Lhasa city.

TCHRD earlier reported on the detention of Tsangyang Gyatso, who was detained on the night of 17 March 2014 along with three other monks – Tsewang, Atse and Gyaltsen – whose status and whereabouts remain unknown.

The situation at Drilda Monastery has been tense since a monk named Lobsang Palden comitted suicide by hanging on 15 Nov 2010 after the Chinese authorities expelled him from the monastery for having visited India on a pilgrimage in 2007, according to the Tibet Express newspaper.

Since March this year, an unknown number of monks and lay persons in Trido Township has been arbitrarily detained in renewed crackdown on Drilda Monastery.