Wednesday 3 August 2011

ICT Prisoner File

This document accompanies the list of prisoners  detailed in ICT’s latest prisoner list, which is updated regularly. The prisoner list at includes only Tibetans detained after March 2008, but the document below includes cases of Tibetans sentenced before then. ICT has been able to identify more than 600 people who have been detained since protests began across the Tibetan plateau on March 10, 2008. We believe that some of those Tibetans have since been released, usually after undergoing extremely brutal treatment while in detention. The list below provides more detail on individuals named on the full prisoner list.
There are many hundreds of names we have not been able to confirm due to the Chinese authorities’ efforts to block information flow. ICT’s prisoner list includes names in Chinese and will be updated to include Tibetan names and further information as it becomes available. Prisoners serving sentences imposed after March 2008

Sangye Lhamo (F), nun, 26
Tsewang Kando (F), nun, 38
Yeshi Lhadon (F), nun, 24
- All from a related case in Kardze county

Details: Sangye Lhamo, a 26-year-old nun from Serchuteng township, Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) county, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture  (TAP), Sichuan province, was detained on May 28, 2008 along with two other nuns from Dragkar nunnery in Kardze, Tsewang Kando, 38, also from Serchuteng township, and Yeshi Lhadon, 24, from Tsozhi village, Kardze county. The three 2 were detained following a peaceful demonstration in the town market square where they distributed leaflets. The three nuns are currently being held in Kardze town and have been denied family visitation, according to recent reports received from relatives. An image of Sangye Lhamo is available and can be viewed on p. 64 of ICT’s report, Tibet at a Turning Point: An image of Yeshi Lhadon can be viewed on p. 118 of the same report.

Imprisonment of a master printer in his eighties: Paljor Norbu
Eighty-one-year old Paljor Norbu, pictured, who ran a family printing business in Lhasa, was tried in secret in November 2008 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Norbu, was taken by the police from his home in Lhasa on October 31, 2008, possibly on suspicion that he had printed "prohibited material," including the banned Tibetan flag. During his detention, judicial authorities refused to inform his relatives that he was being detained, or to reveal the charges against him. His current whereabouts are unknown. Paljor Norbu is a renowned master printer, and his family printing business in the Barkhor had printed  and published Buddhist texts for monasteries for some generations.  He used both modern and traditional woodblock printing techniques in his workshop, which employed several dozen workers. In addition to religious texts, the shop printed prayer flags, folk reproductions, books, leaflets, and traditional literature. The business has now been shut down by the Public Security Bureau  (PSB), which also took many of the wooden printing blocks. This indicates that he is not accused of involvement in any protests from March 10 onwards in Lhasa, but possibly in providing publications. Paljor Norbu is known to be a “very modest, quiet person.” He is widely considered as an elder by other printers in Lhasa, and so highly respected. According to High Peaks Pure Earth, before 1959, he traveled to various important monasteries such as Tashilhunpo, seat of the Panchen
Lama, and Narthang in order to supervise printing of Buddhist texts. In Narthang, he supervised the printing of one set of the 224-volumes of the famous Narthang Tengyur (Snar thang Bstan ’gyur), an order from the Fifth Jamyang Shepa (1916-1947), the famous head of Labrang Monastery and book collector. It took him ten trips from Lhasa to Narthang to supervise the process.

Human Rights Watch said that Norbu was not granted even the minimal rights that are supposed to be provided under Chinese criminal procedures. Violations included the failure to notify his family of his formal arrest or of the trial date; the refusal to reveal where he was detained; the failure to allow him defense representation of his choice in court; the failure to communicate the full verdict of the trial; and, the refusal to inform the family of his current whereabouts and of where he will serve his prison term.

Jigme Guri, monk, 42
Senior monk Jigme Gyatso (or Gyuri), whose account of a period in detention following the March protests in his monastery, Labrang (Chinese: Xiahe) was videoed and uploaded on YouTube, was seized by armed police on November 4 last year and is being held in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. There are fears for his welfare, particularly as he was beaten unconscious during a 42-day period of imprisonment starting from March 22 last year.  Jigme Guri (also known under the honorifics 'Akhu' Jigme and Lama Jigme), deputy director of his monastery's 'Democratic Management Committee' and Director of Labrang's Vocational
School, was taken from his monk's quarters at Labrang on November 4, 2008 by around 70 police. This is Jigme Guri's third detention. Jigme Guri gave an authoritative account of his earlier detention on a video in which he shows his face and gives his full identity. Jigme Guri had not taken part in the protests at Labrang on March 14 and 15, but the authorities suspected him of  being a ring-leader. In a video account later posted onto YouTube, which is now subtitled in English, Jigme described how on March 22, while he was waiting on the street near his monastery for his shoes to be mended, he was dragged into a white van by four uniformed guards. He was taken to a guest-house run by local paramilitary police near Labrang, in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) TAP, Gansu province. Jigme's account of his ordeal was broadcast on Voice of America after they obtained a copy of the video, and is available as an English transcript at:  Jigme’s testimony included details on prison conditions for monks from Labrang monastery that protested in front of a delegation of foreign journalists on April 10, 2008: “Monks who spoke to some reporters were beaten with batons and had their legs broken; on some, they used electric batons on their heads and in their mouths - the electric baton affected their brains and some have become disabled... driven to a type of insanity.”
After the video was released, Jigme went into hiding. It was only when he returned to Labrang that he was again detained from his monk’s quarters on November 4, 2008. A source told the London Times: “We don’t believe they gave any reason for his arrest. They came at lunchtime when most of the monks were in their rooms and there were fewer people around.”

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