Former political prisoner Jigme Guri hospitalised

Jigme Guri in hospital
Jigme Guri in hospital

4th January 2017

Jigme Guri was released from prison in October 2016 after five years

Former Tibetan political prisoner Jigme Guri is in hospital having been diagnosed with several health problems. He was taken to Sangchu County People's Hospital on 26 December 2016, just two months after being released from prison.

Jigme Guri, also known as Jigme Gyatso, was released on 26 October 2016, having completed a five-year prison sentence for "attempting to split the nation".

On 11 November, he went to Lanzhou, the provincial capital of China’s Gansu Province, for medical treatment. He was diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and problems with his heart, liver and eyes.

Due to his deteriorating health, he was taken to Sangchu County People's Hospital, located in eastern Tibet, on 26 December and was subsequently hospitalised. A photo from December shows him in hospital. One of his eyes is visibly swollen.

Freedoms curtailed

Jigme Guri did not suffer from any serious health problems before August 2011, when he was arrested by dozens of police officers and soldiers in a raid on a hotel that he was staying in. It was the fourth time that Jigme Guri had been arrested. No reason was publicly provided for the arrest, although it was believed to be related to a video he recorded in 2008 in which he criticised violent crackdown in Tibet at that time and spoke of the beatings and torture that he suffered in police custody during a previous arrest.

Around two months after his arrest in 2011, Jigme Guri complained that he was feeling unwell. He was denied medical treatment, despite repeated requests, until four months later, when he was taken to prison hospital, diagnosed with diabetes and admitted for further treatment. In 2016, six months before his release, Jigme Guri was again transferred to the prison hospital.

Jigme Guri after his release in October 2016

Jigme Guri was released and returned home in secret in October 2016. He remained under constant under surveillance by Chinese security services and his movements were monitored. Other conditions of his release forbade him from wearing his monk's robes or returning to Labrang Monastery, where he lived while he was a monk.

A number of personal belongings seized during his arrest in 2011, including his identity card, laptop, personal documents and wallet, have not been given back to Jigme Guri, with several requests for their return being rejected. The lack of an identity card prevents him from travelling freely or accessing care in private hospitals. .

Free Tibet will post any updates on Jigme Guri's condition as they come.

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Tibetans like Jigme Guri who stand up to the Chinese occupation or challenge its human rights abuses often face prison. Add your voice to our Robed Resisters campaign to call for the release of Tibet's political prisoners.