Takna Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest-serving political prisoner passes away at 91

Takna Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest-serving political prisoner. (1929-2020) Image: Manuel Bauer Agentur Focus.

DHARAMSALA, 19 Oct: Takna Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest-serving political prisoner has passed away on Saturday at the age of 91.

The nonagenarian Tibetan political prisoner, who spent 37-years in Chinese prison between 1960 till his release in 2002 breathed his last on Saturday morning at an elderly care home in Turbenthal, Switzerland. 

Reacting to Sangpo’s demise, the political head of the Tibetan People, Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) President Dr Lobsang Sangay has said that “We have lost a true patriot of Tibet.

“I have been an admirer of his courage since my youth days. It was an honour meeting him in person and I also took part in the launch of his autobiography in Dharamshala. We have lost a true patriot of Tibet,” President Sangay said, reports tibet.net, the official webpage of the CTA.

Born in 1929, a school teacher from Lhasa Primary School in Tibet’s capital,  Sangpo, commonly referred to as the “shining example of Tibetan freedom fighter,” was first arrested by the Chinese in 1960 and charged with “corrupting the minds of children with revolutionary ideas.”

Sangpo endured persecution, torture, starvation, and degradation while he was incarcerated. Had his sentenced been carried to term to September 2011, he would have spent 41 years in prison but he was released on medical parole at the age of 73 on 31 March 2002 under international pressure. 

Following his release, he was authorized to travel to the US on 13 Jul 2002 and later in Aug, he moved and settled in Switzerland as a political refugee.

The senior Tibetan political prisoner has recounted his 37 years imprisonment in Chinese prisons in a book titled ‘Metse Nyongtsor’ which was published by Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet and released on 24 Jan 2014 from Dharamsala, the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people by President Sangay.

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