Tibetan political prisoner released after 7 year jail term

DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 15: A Tibetan political prisoner was released on January 5 after completing his seven year sentence in a Chinese prison. Kelsang Khedrup, originally from Rabkar Township in Kardze was released from Mianyang prison in Wujia town in Sichuan.

He was arrested on March 5, 2009 on the charges of ‘inciting ethnic division’ and ‘disrupting peace’ in the region. After his arrest, he was held incommunicado for a year by the Chinese authorities; a common practice exercised by China inside Tibet.

His younger sister Namsel Lhamo, also a former political prisoner living in exile, told VOT that although Kelsang is released after the completion of his term he has asthma which he contracted while in detention and is seeking treatment for the same. Kelsang Khedrup is united with his wife and two children.

Tibetan political prisoners placed under appalling living conditions endure torture, malnutrition and often contract life-threatening diseases with no means of treatment while in detention, observers say. A recent report attests to such claims. Kalsang Tsering, a Tibetan political prisoner released last year after serving seven years in Chushul prison on the outskirts of Lhasa, was airlifted in a critical condition to a hospital in Sichuan with funds which was crowd sourced among local Tibetans in a show of solidarity.

Rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, in a thematic report submitted to United Nations Committee against Torture mentioned, “In 2014, 11 Tibetans died in detention. There are probably more cases that have been successfully covered up. Each death is the product of a series of human rights violations, including torture, extrajudicial killing, and enforced disappearance. The PRC has repeatedly promised to improve prison conditions and prevent the use of torture and to punish torturers, but these promises have been broken.”

Phayul Friday, January 15, 2016

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