Tibetan Protest Monk Gets 12 Years, Confined in 'Torture Jail'

2014-10-28
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Tsangyang Gyatso, the chant leader of Sog county's Drilda monastery, in an undated photo.
Tsangyang Gyatso, the chant leader of Sog county's Drilda monastery, in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

A Tibetan monk charged with inciting Tibetans to oppose Chinese rule has been ordered jailed for 12 years, according to sources who say he is being confined in a prison notorious for its abusive treatment of prisoners.

Tsangyang Gyatso, chant leader at the Drilda monastery in Sog (in Chinese, Suo) county in the Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, “was sentenced sometime around Oct. 1, 2014,” Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan living in India, told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing contacts in the region.

“He is reportedly being held in Chushur prison near [the regional capital] Lhasa,” Tharpa said.

Harsh treatment is common at the Chushur prison, located about 48 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Lhasa, with prisoners routinely subjected to torture, beatings, and forms of abuse, Tibetan sources have said.

“[Gyatso] was convicted on charges of inciting others to protest against China and of communicating with contacts outside Tibet,” Tharpa said.

“His relatives in Sog county’s Trido township were informed of his sentence by letter only around Oct. 15.”

Family members have been told they will not be allowed to visit the jailed monk until three months elapse from the date of his sentencing, but have also been warned they will need letters from township and county officials giving permission for the visit, Tharpa said.

Tsangyang Gyatso was detained on unknown charges on March 17, 2014, along with three other monks from Drilda monastery named Tsewang, Atse, and Gyaltsen, Tharpa said.

Their detention followed a roundup earlier in March of at least nine other area monks and residents suspected of involvement of activities challenging Chinese rule in Tibet, including the painting of independence slogans on boulders near an iron bridge in Trido township.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 133 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Reported by Lhuboom, Tsewang Norbu, and Rigdhen Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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