DHARAMSHALA, April 5: Chinese authorities released a Tibetan political prisoner two years prior to the completion of his terms for what China called his "good behavior" last month.
According to Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Dawa Gyaltsen, along with his younger brother, Nyima Dhondup, a monk at Nagchu Shapten Monastery and two more monks namely Mazo and Agya from the same monastery were detained for distributing "political documents" in 1995.
They were charged of "inciting counter-revolutionary propaganda" by Lhasa Public Security Bureau (PSB) personnel.
Dawa Gyaltsen, in his late forties and a former bank accountant in Nagchu, was brutally tortured in the prison due to which he is currently in a poor health with the limp in one of his legs.
"Dawa Gyaltsen was labeled as the 'ringleader' and in May 1997 and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. His brother, Nyima Dhondup, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Mazo and Agya each received eight years' imprisonment," said TCHRD.
Four were held in Drapchi Prison and in May 1997 they were transferred to the Chushul Prison in the outskirts of Lhasa where tortures of political prisoners have been widely reported.
Tenzin Tsundue, a exile Tibetan activist and writer, met Dawa Gyaltsen in Seitru Detention Centre in 1997 and wrote about it in his deposition filed on 3 July 2006 in the Spanish National Court.
"Once he showed me his wrists. There were clear scars of torture – a ring of white scar tissue ran around his wrists. He told me that when he was first arrested he was handcuffed and thrown into a dark room without food for ten days. To keep him alive, the jailors would splash water on him once a day,'' said Tsundue.
"He would often ask me to sing songs about the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, and about the Tibetan families separated on either side of the Himalayas. He said this gave him a great deal of comfort, and i often find myself singing with my eyes full of tears,"
Last week, Jigme Gyatso, 52, a former monk was released after serving 17 years for demanding independence for Tibet and appeared 'very weak' when he returned to his home in Sangchu county in Eastern Tibet after his release from Chusul Prison.