08/21/2014, 00.00
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Tibet, three more deaths in prison: Medical care denied

The victims were among those arrested following a peaceful demonstration fired upon by Chinese police. Their death brings to five the number of inmates who has died in prison after the shooting.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Three more Tibetans have died in a Lochung prison, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Kardze (Sichuan).  They have died from untreated injuries received during clashes with Chinese police. The victims were among those arrested for the riots that took place on 12 August in the village of Shukpa. To disperse the protesters, the police opened fire on the crowd, injuring several people. The injured prisoners were denied medical treatment.

The three victims were all close relatives of village leader Wangdak, whose arrest had triggered protests. They were Gonpo Tsewang, 60, Wangdak's uncle; Yeshe, 42, his brother; Tharchin Jinpa, 18, his brother in law. It is not known the exact date of their death, but the bodies were handed over to the family on 18 August.

The three deaths must be added to the first two that occurred on August 17. Li Phelsang, one of the victims, took his own life in protest against the denial of medical care to inmates. The other, aged 22, died in fact from his injuries.

Following the shooting, the inhabitants of Shukpa asked for an official meeting with the Chinese authorities to release Wangdak. According to sources in the area, about 250 soldiers - military and police - were deployed in the area to control the village.

According to Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, director of Free Tibet, "the shooting and the subsequent treatment of detainees shows the reality of China's so-called 'rule of law' in Tibet. Tibetans not only have to live in a legal framework that criminalizes their expression of basic human and civil rights, but they know that even the meager protections of the law are not worth much"(NC).



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