By Tenzin Dharpo
Image Representational only
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 16: A former Tibetan political prisoner has reportedly died in occupied Tibet’s Lhundrub county in the Tibet Autonomous Region after prolonged illness due to injuries sustained from years of torture in Chinese prison.
Yeshe Thubten, formerly a monk at Phenpo Nalanda monastery prior to his arrest in 1995 has passed away recently. The exact date and circumstances of his death could not be ascertained due to intense restriction on information channels by Chinese authorities.
He was arrested in March 1995 and spent five years in Chinese prison for protesting against the Chinese government’s widely practiced ‘patriotic re-education’ campaign carried out in his monastery and other monasteries inside occupied Tibet as an offensive measure against Tibet’s cultural and religious identity.
Sources say that his family is reluctant to share information of his death and the circumstances surrounding it, due to fear of persecution from Chinese authorities.
He was held at the Gutsa detention center in Lhasa for two years before being transferred to the infamous Drapchi prison nearby. During the five years, exile sources say, Thubten suffered physical and mental torture which later took a toll on his health, leaving him both malnourished and critically ill at the time of his release in the year 2000.
The former Tibetan political prisoner suffered from varied health complication since his release until his death recently.
Similarly, another Tibetan had also passed away on January 27 after being critically ill for over a year. 51-year-old Tibetan nun and former political prisoner, Ngawang Tsomo, died in Lhundrub county in the beginning of the year from long term ailments sustained from her seven-year imprisonment in Chinese jail.
She was arrested in 1993 for taking part in a peaceful protest against Chinese rule. Tsomo was also held at the infamous Drapchi prison in Lhasa and released in 2000 in poor health.