Monday 3 January 2011

Tibetan sentenced to 2 years prison for India visit

Phayul[Monday, January 03, 2011 16:52]
By Kalsang Rinchen

Chime Tashi's picture (also seen is a stamp of the Indian Embassy in Nepal)
Chime Tashi's picture (also seen is a stamp of the Indian Embassy in Nepal)
Dharamsala, January 3 - A Tibetan man from Driru County in Nagchu has been sentenced to two years in prison, a Tibetan with contact in the area said. Chime Tashi, 29; was arrested from his home on October 3 this year. Though the exact reason for his arrest and sentencing is unclear at the moment, the source said his visit to India in 2008 on a religious pilgrimage during which he took sermons from the Dalai Lama might have led to his arrest.

Chime was among 51 Tibetans -- 30 from his hometown Driru and 21 from other Tibetan areas -- who were arrested in 2005 while trying to escape to India through Nepal. All 51 Tibetans were arrested from a place near Nepalese border-town of Solukhumbo (Sharkhumbu) and locked in a prison in Dhingri and Shigatse for four months during which they were subjected to hard labour. The 51 Tibetans were handed over to the Public Security Bureau of their respective hometowns after four months of their arrest.

The 30 Tibetans from Driru were forced to pay 4000 Yuan each to the Driru County Public Security Bureau which promised to return the "deposit" amount if they did not engage in 'illegal' activities in the next five years.

Chime, however, made his second and successful attempt of traveling to India in 2008 during which he went to Bodhgaya and Varanasi where he received teachings and initiations from the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese government reviles as a "separatist". It is also not clear if Chime made the visit with the required Chinese government issued travel permit or "illegally" without the permit.

Chime returned to Tibet after the visit. He is currently imprisoned at a detention centre in Toelung near the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

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