Labrang Jigme freed after completing 5 years’ imprisonment

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Oct 27: A senior Tibetan monk who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for engaging in ‘splittist activities’ in 2011 was released by Chinese authorities after completing his sentence.

Jigme Gyatso, also known as Labrang Jigme or Jigme Guri, of Labrang monastery in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo was released on Oct 26 around 8:30 pm (Local Time) after completing his five years’ sentence.

Labrang Jigme receiving a traditional Tibetan scarf from a well wisher.
Labrang Jigme receiving a traditional Tibetan scarf from a well wisher.

Chinese authorities called Labrang Jigme‘s family in March and told them that he has been admitted in Lanzhou prison’s hospital but stopped short of revealing about his diagnosis and its cause, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet, a Dharamsala-based NGO formed by former political prisoners of Tibet, stated on Oct 27.

Following his release, Chinese authorities issued stern instructions to refrain from hosting reception, taking photographs and spreading the news of his release on social networking sites, the report added.

Labrang Jigme came into prominence after he testified about his brutal treatment in custody in a 2009 video which was widely circulated on the internet.

He was detained for the first time in 2006 when he returned to Labrang after attending Kalachakra teachings given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Amravati, India. He was released without charge after being held and interrogated for a month.

In 2008, during the pan-Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, Jigme was detained and severely tortured for a year before releasing him without being formally charged.

He was arrested again in 2010 and subjected to “political education” for six months in a hotel before he was once again released without charge.

He was last arrested in 2011 for allegedly taking part in “splittist” activities and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on Sep 5, 2011.