By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARASHALA, Oct. 13: Former Tibetan political prisoner Tsegon Gyal who was released after serving three years in Chinese prison is in critical condition after he underwent surgery just a month after his release back in January last year.
“Less than a month after his release on 6 December 2019, Mr Gyal was admitted to hospital where he underwent gallbladder surgery to clear up blockage of cystic duct on 14 January this year. His condition is said to be critical,” the Dharamshala based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said Monday.
Gyal was released in December 2019 after serving three years at Dongchuan prison in Xining, Qinghai Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo. He was sentenced on January 10, 2018 on the charges of ‘inciting separatism’.
He was sentenced for publishing a blogpost on WeChat in which he criticised the Chinese government for failing to genuinely promote its policy of ‘ethnic unity’. The 57-year-old was first put to trial on May 3, 2017. Observers say that like the overwhelming majority of Tibetan political prisoners in Tibet, he was denied a fair trail too. His parents and relatives were not allowed to attend his trial that happened behind closed doors.
In 1993, Tsegon Gyal was arrested with two others, Lukar Jam and Namlo Yak Dhungser, by the provincial state security officers for setting up a group, which reportedly conspired with outsiders for Tibetan independence activities in Tibet. In 1994, Gyal was convicted for ‘espionage and counterrevolutionary crimes’ and sentenced to 16 years, with deprivation of political rights for four years.
The former teacher spent six years in jail and two years without political rights, and was released in 1999. Since then he has been known for devoting his life towards welfare of his community and fellow Tibetans.
TCHRD said his imprisonment was a blatant violation of Chinese domestic law and international human rights treaties that provide for the right to freedom of speech, expression and opinion.