Tibetan Political Prisoner Released After Nine Years in Prison

Tsultrim Gyatso
Tsultrim Gyatso

6th April 2017

Tsultrim Gyatso was released on Saturday and has since returned home

A monk from Ngaba, eastern Tibet, has been released after serving nine years in prison. Tsultrim Gyatso, 52, from Tsenyi Monastery in Amchok Township, was arrested in 2008 following his involvement in the widespread protests that took place throughout Tibet that year.

On 16 and 17 March 2008, Tsultrim Gyatso and around 1000 monks from Tsenyi Monastery staged a protest outside the offices of the local Chinese authorities. On the night of 18 March, security forces stormed Tsenyi Monastery and arrested Tsultrim Gyatso along with a number of other monks.

Tsultrim Gyatso was later charged for spearheading the protest and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Tsultrim Gyatso with Ludub Tendar and Nyen

He remained in Mianyang Prison until his release on 1 April this year. On the same day, he arrived home, where he was received by his fellow monks.

In a photo after his release, Tsultrim Gyatso can be seen with former Tibetan political prisoner and fellow Tsenyi Monastery monk Ludub Tendar and Tibetan poet Nyen.

Freedom delayed

Tsultrim Gyatso is one of a number of Tibetans to have been released from prison in recent weeks. Thinley Tsering, who was also arrested during the widespread protests in 2008, and Lobsang Konchok, a monk who carried out a self-immolation protest in 2011, have both recently been released.

Some prisoner releases appear to have been delayed to avoid the politically sensitive time around 10 March, the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising.

Take action

Demolitions and removals have restarted at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute. There are no details of the scale at present but it is important to intervene now to put international pressure on China to halt them.