Former Tibetan political prisoner sentenced to 18 years in prison

DHARAMSALA, March 16: A former Tibetan political prisoner and his wife were secretly sentenced by a Chinese court on unknown charges.

Lodoe Gyatso, also known as Sogkhar Lodoe, was secretly sentenced to 18 years in prison while his wife, Gakhi was given a two-year sentence by the Chinese authorities,  Tibetan Parliamentarian Ngawang Tharpa told Tibet Express.

It is understood that the former Tibetan political prisoner was given the lengthy sentence for his peaceful protest last year against Chinese occupation of Tibet at the Potala ground in Lhasa on Jan 28, 2018 and his wife for taking a short video which appears to be shot just before the protest. In the video, Lodoe talks about the Tibetan people’s commitment to world peace and non-violence under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The said video concludes with Lodoe committing to organize a movement for world peace.

On Jan 28, 2018, he circumambulated the Potala Palace and staged a solo peaceful protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Chinese officials whisked him away from the site and later took him to a prison in Sog County.

Gyatso, 56, was formally arrested in 1991 on alleged murder charges and sentenced to 15 years in Drapchi prison. While serving his sentence, he led a protest in the prison against China’s occupation of Tibet, called for Tibet’s independence and shouted slogans calling for His Holiness’ long life and unity of the Tibetan people on March 4, 1995.

Following his protest, the prison officials wrote to the court and pressed for his death sentence but after repeated appeals by the Amnesty International and United Nations for Clemency, Chinese authorities waved off the death sentence and Gyatso was sentenced to six additional years.

After completing his 21 years’ sentence and enduring callous torture, Gyatso at the age of 52 was released in poor health from the notorious Chushul prison located on the outskirt of the Tibetan capital city, Lhasa on May 2, 2013, only to be rearrested later on May 14, 2016, on unknown charges. He was released on July 19, 2016, yet again in poor health after having endured callous torture in Chinese prison camps.

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