Tibet, Buddhist monk freed after 15 years, risks death
Lhasa (AsiaNews) - The Tibetan communist government has released a Buddhist monk, Ngawang Gyurmey (photo) after 15 years in prison. He was arrested in 2000 for distributing leaflets in favor of the Dalai Lama and against the Chinese occupation.
The cleric was arrested along with five other people: two of these, released in recent days, have died from the violence suffered in prison. Ngawang's family fears that the same could happen for the Monk, whom they have been unable to make contact with.
Ngawang Gyurmey was arrested March 17 2000 in Sog county with the monks Khedup, Yeshi Tenzin, Tsering Lhagon, Tenzin Choewang and lay man Thagru Yeshi. They were distributing leaflets that read "Long life to the Dalai Lama "; "Tibet is independent"; "China out of Tibet." All these are "illegal" under the Criminal Code in force in Tibet, which considers them "seditious acts".
The group was judged by the local People's Court Ngawang Gyurmey and Tsergin Lhagon were sentenced to 15 years; Khedup to life imprisonment; Yeshi Tenzin to 10 years; Thagru Yeshi to seven years. The formal charge was for "disturbing social stability."
Tenzin Choewang and Yeshi Tenzin were secretly released a few days ago, but according to a source speaking to the Tibetan Phayul newspaper "died shortly after from wounds and torture inflicted in prison." The same source adds that now the family of Ngawang fear the same fate for their relative, as the authorities have not yet allowed them to meet him.