A semi-nomadic Tibetan layman, Adak Kalgyam, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment, according to reports received by Free Tibet Campaign from a highly trusted source.
The sentencing was handed down on 14 July by the Dartsedo (Chinese: Kangding) People’s Court in Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) (Chinese province: Sichuan). Adak was sentenced for the crime of “inciting splittism”, according to the source.
Adak Kalgyam, 27 years old, is the youngest of seven brothers. He is married with two young daughters and is from Kashul village in Lithang county. He had studied in Drepung monastery in South India for three years before returning to Tibet in 2001.
Kalgyam was arrested on October 3 2007. A patriotic education campaign had been implemented in Lithang county following the arrest of Tibetan nomad, Runggye Adak (Adak Kalgyam’s uncle), in August 2007. The arrest had led to large-scale protests by nomads in the area. As part of the patriotic education programme, a meeting was called in Lithang county on October 2. Local officials at the meeting had demanded that local Tibetans say that they were happy to live in Tibet. Adak Kalgyam refused to comply with the officials’ demands and instead shouted: “Long live His Holiness” [the Dalai Lama] and “We want His Holiness to return to Tibet”. The authorities attempted to arrest Kalgyam but were prevented by other Tibetans at the meeting. Kalgyam was arrested the following day.
From the time of his arrest on October 3, Kalgyam’s family were denied access to him. They were not even told where he was being held, despite constantly requesting Lithang county police station to tell them where he was being held, according to the source. On 13 July 2008 his family was told that he was to be sentenced the following day by the Dartsedo People’s Court. Up until the time of his sentencing, Kalgyam had had no access to a lawyer. His family was allowed to speak to him on 14 July, according to the source. Kalgyam told them that his health was normal but that he had been hospitalised for one month due to earlier maltreatment in prison. According to the source, Kalgyam told his family that he had been subjected to solitary confinement in a dark cell on a number of occasions which had led him to faint sometimes. His family reported that marks from handcuffs were still visible.
Adak Kalgyam is connected to Tibetans sentenced to lengthy prison terms last year following a huge protest by nomadic Tibetans at the Lithang horse festival in Lithang county (Chinese province: Sichuan) in August 2007. The 2007 protests followed the arrest of a Tibetan nomad, Runggye Adak,who had mounted the stage at the horse festival and made an impassioned call for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. His call had been greeted by roars of approval from the Tibetan crowd.
Runggye Adak was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the Kandze (Chinese: Ganzi)Intermediate Court on November 20 for “inciting splittism”. Adak Kalgyam’s eldest brother, Adak Lopoe was sentenced with Runggye Adak. Lopoe was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for “colluding with foreign separatist force [a reference to Lopoe’s alleged attempts to distribute photos of the protests] to split the country and distributing political pamphlets”, according to Radio Free Asia.
The source was not able to say why Adak Kalgyam was sentenced so long after the sentences handed down to Runggye Adak and Adak Lopoe.
Following their sentencing, Runggye Adak and Adak Lopoe had been held at an undisclosed location in Ngawa (Chinese: Aba) county in Kham (Chinese province: Sichuan). After the Sichuan earthquake of May 12 2008, Runggye Adak and Adak Lopoe were moved from Ngawa county to Dartsedo. Their families requested meetings with the prisoners but were denied access and were told that no visits would be allowed until after the Beijing Olympics.