Two monks sentenced for peaceful protests

Gedon Phuntsok
Gedon Phuntsok

7th December 2015

Both had been missing since their arrests in March

Two Tibetan monks have received prison sentences of several years in Ngaba County in east Tibet. The two monks, named Gedon Phuntsok  and Lobsang Kalsang, had been missing since being arrested in separate incidents in March this year.

Gedon Phuntsok, a 17-year-old, was sentenced to 4 years in prison. He was arrested on 7 March after walking along the main road of Ngaba with a large portrait of the Dalai Lama draped with a yellow khata (Tibetan ceremonial scarf). Gedon Phuntsok also shouted slogans calling for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet and for freedom and equality.

During his time in detention his family had received no information from authorities about his whereabouts.

The second monk to be sentenced was 19-year-old Lobsang Kalsang. He was arrested on 17 March after staging a peaceful solo protest, also in Ngaba. During the protest he held a portrait of the Dalai Lama, threw prayer flags in the air and shouted slogans calling for Tibetan freedom.

Like Gedon Phuntsok, his whereabouts were unknown until 2 November 2015, when he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Information about the sentencing has only recently become known due to the difficulties of getting information out of Tibet. Tibetans are subject to heavy restrictions on their movements and on communicating with the outside world.

The date of Gedon Phuntsok’s sentencing is unknown. Both men are now serving their sentences in Mianyang Prison.

Monk released after completing his sentence

43 year old monk Jinpa, was released last week after completing a three year prison sentence. Jinpa had been arrested in October 2012. He had been accused of distributing a document titled “Words of Truth” in his native Machu County, and of sending information about the situation in Tibet to the outside world.

Jinpa was subjected to torture and interrogations for five months following his arrest. He was also reported by locals as looking physically weak and having lost his hair after his release. He arrived at his hometown in Machu County on 3 December, where he was welcomed by monks and local Tibetans, who presented him with traditional ceremonial scarves.

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