By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 19: Former Tibetan political prisoner Sogkhar Lodoe or Lodoe Gyatso who carried out a solo protest in front of the Potala palace in Lhasa and his wife have reportedly been sentenced by a Chinese court sometime in 2018.
Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said Gyatso and his wife who had been secretly sentenced to 18 years and two years respectively in Sog County, Nagchu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, the Tibetan province of Kham.
Prior to his disappearance following his solo protest in January 2018, Gyatso had recorded a video announcing his ‘campaign for world peace’ that was filmed by Gakyi. The video which was widely shared by exile Tibetans saw him praising His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision of making Tibet a ‘zone of peace’ and the ‘Middle Way Approach’ of resolving the Tibet issue.
The information of his sentencing became available to sources inside Tibet sometime in November 2018 although the exact date and charges remain unknown, TCHRD said.
Lodoe had served 21 years in Chinese prison on charges of killing a man while defending himself in 1993.He was also re-arrested in May 2016 without any explanation from Chinese authorities and released two months later in poor health.
In March 1995, while being imprisoned at Drapchi Prison, Lodoe Gyatso undertook a lone protest and shouted slogans such as “Tibet is independent”, “China out of Tibet” “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama” “Unity among six million Tibetans”.
Consequently, the Tibet Autonomous Region Intermediate Court sentenced him to death. However, following intense objection by international rights groups and the United Nations, the Chinese government commuted his sentence to 21 years in prison.
Lodoe Gyatso is from Sogkhar Village of Tsadog Township in Sog County, Nagchu Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
His solo protest in Lhasa called for the return of exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, demilitarisation of Tibet, and transformation of Tibet into a “zone of peace”, according to sources.
The Tibetan rights group said that the couple is “unfairly” sentenced and secrecy surrounding the case is “shocking and deeply distressing”. “The Chinese authorities must release Lodoe Gyatso and Gakyi from arbitrary detention immediately and unconditionally.
They must disclose truthful information about the events that led to their illegal imprisonment and hold accountable officials guilty of subjecting Gyatso and Gakyi to arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, and unfair sentencing,” said TCHRD Executive Director Tsering Tsomo.