Tibetan political prisoner released with crippled back and legs

DHARAMSALA, Mar 25 : A Tibetan political prisoner released after serving eight years in Chinese prison for participating in a peaceful protest is said to be in critical condition with crippled back and legs due to severe torture in prison.

“Ngodup Phuntsok aka Ngoe-ga, 61, was released on the night of Mar 20, 2016 and brought back to his home in Kardze County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in eastern Tibet’s Kham province.

“Unable to walk, he was brought home two days after his actual release date of 18 March. Chinese authorities gave no explanation for extending Ngodup’s release date,” Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Dharamsala-based Tibetan rights group said in a report confirming his release.

An image of Ngodup Phuntsok. Courtesy: TCHRD

“At home, Ngodup needs constant attention and support from his family members to get up from bed or move around. His body has been badly crippled and he needs a walking stick to support himself. Although he requires immediate treatment, he has not been admitted to a hospital,” TCHRD added.

After a peaceful protest by thousands of Tibetans outside the Public Security Bureau office in Kardze County which was suppressed through use of force by Chinese police, Ngodup was detained on Mar 18, 2008 and charged with being the ringleader of the protest.

He was initially held at the Kardze county detention centre and then moved to a detention centre at Dartsedo, the prefectural capital. On Oct 30, 2008 after being held in secret detention for over six months, Kardze Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to eight years imprisonment for “inciting separatism” and deprivation of political rights for four years.

Ngodup was one of the main organizers of a long life ceremony for His Holiness the Dali Lama held in Kardze in 2001. In 1990, he had distributed portraits of Dalai Lama and religious scriptures to fellow Tibetans in his hometown.

Two audio cassettes of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s teachings and more than 70 portraits of the Dalai Lama were seized from Ngodup’s room in a raid conducted by Chinese police following his detention.

TCHRD in its report demanded that China put an end to torture and inhumane treatment and respect basic rights and fundamental freedoms of Tibetan political prisoners.

“TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to put an immediate end to the persistent practice of torture and other inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment on Tibetan political prisoners. Chinese authorities particularly the detention officers and prison officials must ensure the physical and mental health and well-being of all political prisoners including Ngodup Phuntsok. Chinese authorities must respect the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of political prisoners must be respected at all times to preserve their inherent dignity and value as human beings,” the Tibetan rights group demanded.

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