Supporter of Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche refused to denounce him

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2003�A 66-year-old Tibetan man who refused to denounce a condemned Tibetan monk was tortured by the Chinese authorities to the point of mental and physical handicap before his release, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

Tsering Dhondup, also known as Jotse, refused to cooperate with the Chinese after his detention for protesting against the imprisonment and suspended death sentence handed down to Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche, RFA's Tibetan service has learned.

"Tsering Dhondup insisted that Tenzen Delek Rinpoche did no wrong, and that he had always urged Tibetans not to indulge in drinking, smoking, or fighting," according to a source who asked not to be named.

"As a result, Chinese officials tortured him so severely that he is completely blinded and both legs were broken," said the source. "He was released about four months back. He was not given enough food and he is mentally damaged," she said.

Tsering Dhondup was arrested one month after the arrest of Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche. He was a village leader in the Nyakuka area and collected 20,000 petition signatures to protest at Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche's sentencing.

The Tibetan woman also said that two sisters of Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche travelled in July to Dartsedo (Kangdin), where he is being held.

"They told me that they went to Dartsedo and complained and requested for his release. They told the Chinese officials that Rimpoche did not steal, kill anybody, or steal anything, saying there were many who did steal and kill people who had been released and were free to move around," she said.

"They were not allowed to see their brother. They were told to return and that they would be contacted if they were to be allowed to see him," she said.

Other supporters of Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche--Tsultrim Dhargye, Tamding Tsering, and Aku Dargye--had all been released from jail but remained under house arrest in Nyakchuka. Another supporter, Tashi Phuntsok, who was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, was still in jail, she added.

Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche and Lobsang Dhondup were detained in connection with a series of bomb blasts in western China. Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche remains in custody under a suspended death sentence, and Lobsang Dhondup was executed in January. His death caused an international outcry.

Tibetans who knew Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche say his outspokenness in criticizing Chinese officials is a more likely factor behind his continued detention. They dismiss the bombing charges against him as fabricated.

Around 80 Tibetans were detained, beaten, and tortured after an attempt to appeal for Tenzin Deleg Rimpoche. Tibetan sources say some were detained for two to three months, others for 10-20 days, while others remain in prison.

RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance and fairness in its editorial content. #####


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