Dharamshala: The Chinese authorities have released early a Tibetan political prisoner, serving a 10-year prison term, in critical health.
Gangbu Rikgye Nyima, aged around 30, was released from prison last week on 25 February in Drakgo (Ch: Luhuo) county in Karze (Ch: Ganzi) Prefecture, incorporated in China’s Sichuan province. According to Radio Free Asia, he was released a year before completing his sentence.
In 2012, during the Tibetan New Year, Tibetans in Drakgo and Serthar (Ch: Seda) counties peacefully protested against Chinese rule. Following their protest, Nyima was arrested and later sentenced to 10 years for “disrupting social stability” and “inciting separatism”. Around ten others, including two monks from Drakgo Monastery: Tashi Dhargyal and Namgyal, were reportedly sentenced to between 12-14 years.
According to RFA, Nyima and his inmates, who have been arrested with him in 2012, repeatedly protested in the prison and were subjected to harsh beatings by the prison guards. The guards also locked him up in dark cells multiple times. As a result, Nyima suffers from constant headaches and weakened vision. The tortures he suffered in the nine years in prison have left him mentally disturbed, and “his lungs and spine are also in a bad state”. Nyima’s condition is very severe.
An employee at a hydropower station in Drakgo county prior to his arrest, Nyima was officially sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Chinese government but was released a year before time. The prison authorities took him directly to his home from the prison upon the release and prohibited his family members from receiving him from the prison.
In a statement following his release, Nyima had written, “As long as I live, I will always remember how the Chinese government has imprisoned me on false charges and took away my rights,” reported RFA.
“Never forget that we are Tibetan. Always remain united. Don’t get discouraged. Study and protect your language and religion. We will be free from this repression,” wrote Nyima.
In order to evade responsibility, the Chinese authorities make premature releases of Tibetan political prisoners in near-death conditions. Last year, at least six Tibetan political prisoners passed away either in prison or following their release from torture injuries inflicted in prison. Two torture-death cases were reported this year. In January, Tenzin Nyima, a teenage monk from Dza Wonpo died after he was severely beaten by the Chinese authorities for pro-independence protests. In February, Kunchok Jinpa died while serving a 21-year prison term after he suffered brain haemorrhage and paralysis due to torture in prison, for providing information on the situation at hometown Driru to foreign media.
- Filed by UN, EU, and Human Rights Desk/DIIR