A Tibetan monk who was arrested in March 2008 and later sentenced to 15 years in prison is being described in “critical health condition”.
34-year old Thapkay Gyatso from Labrang monastery was arrested during the widespread Tibetan uprisings in the spring of 2008 by Chinese security personnel from his monastery. In May 2009, after going missing for more than a year, Thapkay Gyatso was sentenced by a Chinese court in eastern Tibet to 15 years in prison on charges of “causing harm to national security”.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in a release today said that Thapkay Gyatso “is feared to be in critical health condition due to years of torture.”
A friend of Thapkay Gyatso who visited him in prison in July this year made the revelations to TCHRD.
“The friend also said that Thapkay is half-paralysed and is suffering from weak eyesight,” TCHRD said in the release.
The court’s verdict on Thapkay Gyatso, which was later published by RFA in March 2010 found him “guilty” of carrying and distributing Tibetan snow-lion flags in March 14 street protests, shouting slogans for Tibetan independence, and passing on information to outside “separatist” groups.
“Therefore the Court has concluded that Thapkay Gyatso instigated others for committing separatist activities and found him guilty of violating Articles 55, 56, and 103 of the Criminal Code of the People’s Republic of China and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment and deprivation of his political rights for an additional five years,” RFA quoted to verdict as pronouncing.
Thapkay Gyatso was born in Sangkhog Village, Sangchu County, Labrang and after completing his schooling was ordained as a monk at the Labrang Monastery. Passionate about writing, his essays were also published in local newsletters and magazines.