By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept.15: Tibetan political prisoner Phagpa Kyab was released after he completed an eight year sentence in prison for his alleged involvement in a self-immolation. Tibet Watch reported on Friday that Kyab, 57, from Eastern Tibet was accused of pouring petrol over another Tibetan named Lhamo Tseten who self-immolated himself on Oct 26, 2012.
The accused was arrested by the Chinese police on Dec. 4, 2012 and disappeared until he was later sentenced to eight years for his alleged connection to Tseten’s self-immolation. His current condition after the release remains unknown. Tseten, 24, was the fourth Tibetan self-immolator recorded that week in Sangchu county.
However, rights group say Phagpa Kyab’s alleged involvement in the self immolation is highly unlikely. The Chinese government has not only criminalised self immolation, but also resorted to punishing family members of self immolators to deter the act.
In a previous report on the incident, the London-based organization Free Tibet stated, “Lhamo Tseten visited a restaurant in Achok Township with friends, before walking outside and setting himself on fire close to a military camp and a local court building.”
There have been 154 confirmed cases of self immolation in Tibet between Feb 2009 and May 2019, according to the exile Tibetan government run date base. Yonten, 24, from Meruma Township who self immolated on Nov. 26, 2019 is the last known case.