By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 17 Nov: Four Tibetans from Serta County have been given a two-year prison sentence each on alleged charges of conducting religious activities. They are currently imprisoned in Yak-Nga jail, reported Tibet Times on 15 November.
According to the report, five Tibetans Shukdar, Gelo, Tsedu, Bamo and Khore were arrested by the Chinese authorities on 24 August 2022 engaging in religious activities, including offering smoke to mountain deities and participating in prayer ceremonies. They were taken to Karze county prison, where Shukdar, one of the five arrested, died due to a torturous beating by the Chinese authorities.
After nearly a year spent in prison, the surviving four were reportedly released in July this year. However, in September, they were arrested again and subsequently sentenced to two years imprisonment.
The report quoted an anonymous Tibetan source as saying, “Following this incident, the other four were detained for a while and then released to their residences. However, they were arrested again later. The reason for their second arrest is unknown.”
Citing another anonymous source, the report added that they were released in the summer only to be arrested again in September. “They were each sentenced to two years and are currently serving their time in Yak-Nga prison.”
The source detailed that “For Gelo, Tsedu, and Bamo, they have to serve in prison for one year and six months, as their previous six months in prison were considered in the two-year sentence. However, for Khore, he has to serve the two-year sentence fully because his previous six months in prison were disregarded.”
The report says that those five Tibetans are known for their kindness and altruism and are appointed by the people of Serta County’s Khekor town. They usually arrange religious activities.
Shukdar, who was killed by the Chinese authorise, was 52 years old. He is survived by his father, mother, wife and children.