Tibetan woman released after three years in prison

Yangmo Kyi in court with her co-defendants
Yangmo Kyi in court with her co-defendants

11th December 2015

Yangmo Kyi remains subject to heavy restrictions

Yangmo Kyi, a 45-year-old Tibetan woman, has been released after serving a 3 year prison term. She was returned to her home by authorities on 18 November.

Yangmo Kyi was arrested in Sangchu County, East Tibet on 18 November 2012 along with ten other people. Police accused the group of alleged involvement in a self-immolation protest in Labrang, Sangchu County, the month before.

There were initially no arrests after the self-immolation of Dorjee Rinchen on 23 October 2012, which Free Tibet reported on at the time. However, after orders came through from Beijing for harsher measures in response to self-immolations, police launched a sweep of the area, arresting shopkeepers and hotel owners based in the vicinity of the protest.

She was eventually sentenced in January 2013, along with five other Tibetans. Yangmo Kyi’s prison sentence was for allegedly 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble'. Another Tibetan, Dugkar Gyal, was sentenced to four years for the same crime. Four others received sentences of between seven and twelve years for 'intentional homicide', due to their alleged role in trying to prevent Dorjee Rinchen’s body from falling into the hands of the police and military.

The names of the other Tibetans sentenced, and pictured in the accompanying photograph, are Pema Dhondup, Kalsang Gyatso, Pema Tso and Lhamo Dhondup. They, and Dugkar Gyal, remain in prison.

Returned in secret

In advance of Yangmo Kyi's release, residents of her village in Sangchu County attempted to organise a welcome reception, while relatives travelled from Lhasa and other areas to gather at her home. Authorities, mindful of possible large gatherings, took her home in secret at midnight on 18 November.

Although locals could not hold a formal welcome, they have since visited Yangmo Kyi at home. However, authorities have prohibited people from outside her village from meeting her. She has also been prohibited from speaking or sending information and photos of her release and from having a mobile phone for the next three months.

Take action

Yangmo Kyi's release is good news. But many other Tibetans remain in prison for exercising their rights to peacefully protest against the Chinese occupation. Join in with our Robed Resisters campaign to send messages in support of Tibet's religious prisoners.