70-year-old Tibetan prisoner dies in detention

15th February 2016

Senior monks arrested elsewhere in Tibet for role in prayer ceremony

A Tibetan political prisoner has died after two years in detention. Trigyal, a 70-year-old, was serving a thirteen year prison sentence for his role in protests.

Trigyal had been arrested in 2013 after a protest by Tibetans from townships in Driru County. The protest was in response to the forced closure of the county’s Drongna Monastery and the sealing of its assembly hall and living quarters of the monks. Trigyal was also accused of defying an order to place Chinese national flags on village rooftops and instead throwing them into the river.

In January 2014 Trigyal was found guilty of being an organiser of the protest and was handed his thirteen year sentence.

Trigyal is survived by his wife and five children. His body has been returned to his family but there is currently no further information.

Driru County has emerged as a centre of resistance to Chinese occupation in the last few years. Several months after a large anti-mining protest in 2013, party officials flooded the county in an attempt to impose a "political re-education programme", resulting in the throwing of the Chinese flags into the river. In the subsequent crackdown, protesters were fired upon, local Tibetans were killed in custody and severe sentences were handed out to residents for political crimes. In an attempt to limit unrest, its neighbouring Sog County was also placed under heavy restrictions.

Senior monks arrested after Dalai Lama ceremony

IN a separate development, two senior monks from Chokri Monastery in Drango County, Kardze, were arrested following their participation in a mass prayer ceremony on 25 January. The ceremony, which Free Tibet reported on, took place in Trehor Township of Drango County and was attended by hundreds of monks and laypeople praying for the good health and well-being of the Dalai Lama, who was in America undergoing medical treatment.

The two monks, Pagah, a 40-year-old khenpo, or abbot, and Orgyen, a high ranking monk or geshe aged 50, were detained in the first week of February. Following their arrests, local authorities deployed large numbers of security forces to monitor monastic and lay communities in Trehor Township.

At the time the prayer services took place, shopkeepers in Drango county were threatened with "severe punishment" for selling or displaying photographs of the Dalai Lama.

Geshe Orgyen
Khenpo Pagah
The prayer gathering in January

Take action for Thardhod Gyaltsen

Thardhod Gyaltsen, a monk from Drongna monastery in Driru county, is currently serving 18 years in jail for owning pictures and recordings of the Dalai Lama, prohibited under Chinese rule. Sign the petition for his release.

Trigyal and more than a million Tibetans have died as a result of China’s occupation. You can help to honour their memory with a contribution to our White Lotus Book of Remembrance.