Former political prisoner passes away from lack of medical care in prison

11th May 2020

Choekyi passed away at the age of 43 last week.


Free Tibet has learned of the news of another former Tibetan political prisoner passing away.

Choekyi died in the afternoon of 7 May after suffering from an illness for a long time. He succumbed to his illness after being denied access to medical treatment during his time at prison and after his release last year. 

Prior to his arrest, Choekyi was a monk at Phugu Monastery in Nyingtoe Township in Serthar County, eastern Tibet. Choekyi enrolled in the monastery as a child. 

He was arrested and imprisoned on 19 June 2015 after he was caught making a special garment for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. He also allegedly posted pictures that were deemed politically sensitive. 

Alongside him, his sister Kyizom and her son Dakpa were also forcefully arrested and detained for about 15 days for interrogation. 

Choekyi was known to have had weak health well before his arrest. He was nevertheless subjected to brutal treatment and hard labour in prison, which caused his health to deteriorate  further,damaging his liver and kidney. 

Reportedly, his weak health was noticed by prison authorities, but he was not given any medical consultation or treatment. 

Choekyi was released from prison on 18 January 2019, having served a four-year sentence. Even after his release, he was not allowed to go to Lhasa to see a doctor of his choice and was also stopped from consulting doctors in Chengdu and Barkham. 

“He was frail and uttering even a word had become too difficult for him”, said Takmik, a former political prisoner who had gone to see Choekyi at his home last month.

The treatment Choekyi received whilst in prison is similar to the experiences other Tibetan political prisoners have had. The Chinese Community Party is particularly quick to arrest and imprison Tibetans who are seen to undermine its  power by maintaining loyalty to the Dalai Lama or practicingTibetan Buddhism outside of the restrictions imposed by the Party. 


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