Tibetan monk released after two years in prison

Gomar Choephel
Gomar Choephel

15th August 2017

Gomar Choepel was imprisoned in 2015 for possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama

 

SENTENCED FOR “DISTURBING SOCIAL STABILITY”

A Tibetan monk has been released after spending two gruelling years in prison.

Gomar Choepel, a 48-year-old senior monk from Rongbo Gomchen Thoesam Norling Monastery, located in Rebkong County, northeast Tibet, was arrested on 10 July 2015.

Gomar Choepel was arrested during a search of his monastery by the Rebkong police, after they discovered images of the Dalai Lama in his monastic room.

He was subsequently charged with “separating the nation” and “disturbing social stability” and later, sentenced to a 2-year term in prison by the People’s Intermediate Court of Rebkong County.

MISTREATED IN PRISON

Gomar Choepel was imprisoned in Semnyi County, currently administered as part of China’s Qinghai ProvinceWhile in prison, he was held incommunicado  and had to work 15 hours a day.

His family was denied access to him and was only permitted to visit him once per month. This visit would be kept short - they would be allowed to spend five minutes with Gomar Choepel if they communicated in Tibetan, or 30 minutes if they communicated in Chinese. 

A RELEASE UNDER CHINESE OVERSIGHT

Gomar Choepel was released around 10 July  and has since arrived back at Rongbo Monastery. His release is subject to conditions - he is now closely monitored and his movements are restricted. Local authorities prevented his relatives and fellow monks from hosting a homecoming event or taking any picture related to his release.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

Take action

Tashi Wangchuk has been held in detention since 2016. He is accused of "inciting separatism" and faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. Yet, China has provided no evidence that he has committed any crime.

Contact your embassy in China to ensure that Tashi Wangchuk receives a fair trial or the Chinese authorities drop the charges.