Prominent Tibetan monk writer sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment

DHARAMSALA, 13 Dec: A prominent Tibetan monk-writer from Kirti monastery, Go Sherab Gyatso has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Chinese authorities nearly a year after his incommunicado detention.

Celebrated Tibetan writer Go Sherab Gyatso has been sentenced to ten years in prison at a secret trial, sources have told Tibet Express.  

However, owing to China’s tight grip on the occupied Tibet, the exact date of the secret trial and the charges on which Gyatso was sentenced can not be ascertained.

For the uninitiated, the Tibetan monk was arbitrarily detained by the Chinese secret agents from Lhasa in Chengdu in January earlier this year. 

Though the charges on which he was arrested, where he is being held and his whereabouts following his arrest remained unknown, the Chinese government, while responding to the United Nations and human rights experts on 16 July earlier this year declared that Gyatso had been placed in criminal detention “in accordance with the law on suspicion of inciting secession”.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Dharamsala-based rights group released its Tibetan Political Prisoner Database (TPPD) on Friday, the Human Rights Day and declared that currently, 1,809 Tibetan political prisoners are being held in Chinese prisons. 

Since 1900, China has imprisoned at least 5517 Tibetan political prisoners, TCHRD maintained based on its database and added that 3,067 prisoners have been released whereas 1,809 people are still currently detained in Chinese prisons.

Go Sherab Gyatso debuted with his book titled “Time to Wake up” in Tibetan in 2009. The book became hugely popular in Tibet as well as in the exile diaspora earning him a legion of fans.

The 46 years old writer was previously arrested by the Chinese authorities in three instances.

First in 1998 for defying China’s “re-education” programs which resulted in 4 years prison sentence, later during the 2008 Pan-Tibet uprising he was arrested again for leading a group of  Kirti monks protesting in the streets of Lhasa for which he was subjected to over a year-long prison sentence.

And in 2011, amidst a report that he went missing after a self-immolation protest in Ngaba by a fellow Kirti monk, it was reported that he was held incarcerated in Chengdu by the Chinese authorities.

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