Political prisoner released after eight years

Ngodup Phuntsok
Ngodup Phuntsok

29th March 2016

Ngodup Phuntsok was arrested for his role in 2008 protests and suffered torture in prison

A political prisoner has been released after spending eight years in prison. 61-year-old Ngodup Phuntsok was released on 20 March.

Ngodup Phuntsok was detained in March 2008 as part of a group of Tibetans who were accused of leading protests in Tibet’s Kardze County. He spent most of the past eight years in Deyang Prison near to Chengdu in China’s Sichuan Province.

After completing his sentence he was released and returned to his home in Sershul, Kardze County. Authorities ensured that he was returned in secrecy in order to prevent Tibetans in his hometown from welcoming him. Nevertheless, hundreds of Tibetans have come to see him after his return. He is in poor health due to severe back injuries he sustained during torture in prison. He is still in pain and also requires assistance to move around.

A life of resistance

Ngodup Phuntsok had in the past engaged in many peaceful resistance activities. In 1990, he had distributed religious texts and photos of the Dalai Lama to the monks of a local monastery and to the lay community. In 2001, he was one of the principal organisers of a long-life offering to the Dalai Lama in Kardze. 70 photos of the Dalai Lama were discovered by the police when they ransacked his room following his arrest in 2008.

News of Ngodup Phuntsok’s release follows news from last week about the releases of Sonam Gonpo and Joleb Jigme. Both men were released after serving their full sentences.

Protests in Prague

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, activists took to the streets to protest against the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was in Prague to strengthen economic and political ties between the two countries.

Protesters brought a billboard of the Dalai Lama alongside the late former President and political prisoner Vaclav Havel. They also replaced Chinese flags hanging from lamp posts along the road from the airport with ones from Tibet, while inside the Czech parliament members of the opposition TOP 09 party hung Tibetan flags from the windows.

Scuffles were reported between the pro-Tibetan activists and supporters of Xi Jinping, who also turned up in large numbers and covered the billboard of the Dalai Lama with Chinese flags. Several pro-Tibetan activists were arrested for replacing Chinese flags with Tibetan flags.

Stop Torture in Tibet

Cut off from the outside world, Tibetan prisoners like Ngodup Phuntsok face a real risk of torture in prison. Call on China to stop torture in Tibet.