Teacher released after nine years in prison

Jamyang Kunkhen
15th September 2016

Jamyang Kunkhen was arrested after protesting the arrest of Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak

Free Tibet has learned that the Tibetan political prisoner Jamyang Kunkhen has been released after nine years in prison. He was released on 21 August and has since returned home, although is now living under surveillance.

Jamyang Kunkhen is a teacher and musician from Kardze in eastern Tibet. He was detained on 22 August 2007 for carrying out a protest against the arrest of Runggye Adak, a Tibetan nomad, earlier that month.

Runggye Adak's arrest, on 1 August 2007, was for his protest at the annual horse race festival in Lithang County in Kardze, in which he had climbed onto the stage and called for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.

Trial and imprisonment

Jamyang Kunkhen was accused of publicly distributing flyers in solidarity with Runggye Adak, and of leaking information about his case to the outside world. He was kept in detention until his trial in November 2007. According to information received by Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch, he was tortured and beaten during interrogation sessions.

In November Jamyang Kunkhen stood trial at Kardze Intermediate People’s Court alongside Adruk Lopoe, Runggye Adak’s nephew, who had also been arrested for protesting his uncle’s detention.  Jamyang Kunkhen and Adruk Lopoe were sentenced to nine and ten years in prison respectively for separatist activities and leaking state secrets.

Jamyang Kunkhen served his sentence in Mianyang Prison in eastern Tibet. While in prison he reportedly suffered a stroke, for which he was given no medical attention.

He was released on the morning of 21 August and has since returned home. He is suffering from vision and hearing problems resulting from the torture that he was subjected to. His lips are also contorted due to the lack of medical treatment he received in prison. He is subject to restrictions on his movement and surveillance.

Runggye Adak was released in July last year, having completed his eight-year prison sentence. Adruk Lopoe remains in prison.

Take action

Tibetans face arrest for protesting against the occupation and human rights abuses, while their environment and culture is being erradicated. One of the key concerns in Tibet at present is the demolitions and forced removals at Larung Gar, the largest Tibetan Buddhist institution in the world. Join our campaign to tell world leaders to act before further damage is done to Larung Gar.