-Filed by UN, EU and Human Rights Desk, DIIR
Dharamshala: News emerges from Tibet that Chinese authorities have sentenced Lodoe Gyatso, a former Tibetan political prisoner, to 18 years in prison while his wife has been given a two-year prison term. Last year, on 28 January, Lodoe Gyatso, alias Sogkhar Lodoe, staged a peaceful solo protest in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet shouting slogans against Chinese government.
Lodoe Gyatso, 57, and his wife Gakyi were sentenced in secret in 2018 after his 28 January protest, according to reliable sources. News about the couple’s secret sentences comes over a year after Lodoe Gyatso’s peaceful protest after which Chinese authorities immediately arrested him, leading to his arbitrary detention in Sog county, Nagchu Prefecture.
Gakyi, Lodoe Gyatso’s wife, has been sentenced to two years allegedly for filming the short video shot just before his protest. In that video, Lodoe Gyatso talks about his commitment for world peace and non-violence under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The video reached Tibetans in exile in early 2018 along with the news of his peaceful solo protest and the short video was shared widely on social media. Information about Gakyi’s detention was not known earlier.
This would be the third time that Sogkhar Lodoe, a renowned political prisoner, is sentenced by Chinese authorities. He was first sentenced in 1993 to 15 years in prison for “intentional homicide” and an additional six years after he led a protest inside Drapchi prison in 1995, calling for Tibet’s independence and the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Local authorities attempted to procure execution order for Lodoe Gyatso after the prison protest however, international intervention resulted in the extension of his sentence term. He was imprisoned for a total of 21 years in Drapchi prison in Lhasa and later at Chushur prison on the outskirt of Lhasa. While in prison, Sogkhar Lodoe was repeatedly subjected to torture. He was released in concerning health in May 2013, only to be put under house arrest for four more years until May 2017.
Lodoe Gyatso and Gakyi are from Sogkhar village in Tsadog township, Sog county, Nagchu Prefecture in the “Tibet Autonomous Region”.