After Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, another political prisoner dies in jail

27th July 2015

Again, authorities reject family pleas and cremate body

A 64-year-old father of eight has become the latest Tibetan political prisoner to die in custody. Lobsang Yeshi, who was arrested following an anti-mining protest in May 2014, died in a Lhasa hospital on July 19, one week after high profile political prisoner Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in jail, 13 years into a life sentence.

Protest against Chinese mine

The mining protest in Chamdu Prefecture, southern Tibet, protest continued for two days before its leaders, who included the then village head Lobsang Yeshi, called it off after being threatened by the police. Shortly after, one local Tibetan died after jumping off a roof in protest and another was seriously injured when he stabbed himself in solidarity. In May 2014, Lobsang Yeshi and seven other protest leaders were detained, interrogated, beaten and tortured. He and two of his friends, Ngata (Ngawang Tashi) and Choluk Tenzin, were later moved to Chusul prison near Lhasa, and sentenced to two years behind bars in May this year.

Tibetan prisoners denied proper funerals

Lobsang Yeshi was sent to Lhasa hospital after suffering from bouts of nausea and dizziness, but his condition continued to deteriorate until his death. He was described as the backbone of his family, and provided for 14 relatives. Despite repeated requests, the authorities refused them permission to recover his body, although a monk was permitted to say prayers nearby and two of his many siblings were allowed to attend his cremation inside the prison. Despite being Tibet’s most high profile current political prisoner, after Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in jail, his family, like Lobsang Yeshi’s, were denied the right to perform proper funeral services. In the Rinpoche’s case, authorities snatched back his ashes when the family were trying to bring them home.

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