Runggye Adak, a nomad from Eastern Tibet, was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007.
His supposed crime was that on 1 August 2007 (six years ago today) he went on stage during a horse racing festival and made a speech calling for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama to Tibet and for freedom and equality for Tibetans.
He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for this.
Two of his friends and his nephew were also arrested and jailed for attempting to get him freed.
The authorities agreed to allow Runggye Adak’s family to visit him once a year; although this was refused in 2012.
During this year’s visit his family noticed that he had something wrong with his eyes; there were white spots (possibly cataracts) covering both eyes. His eyesight continues to worsen.
Runggye Adak has back pain because of continued confinement in poor conditions.
There are around 40 other Tibetans, including political prisoners, in prison with him. The others are allowed to come out of their cell and exercise but both he and his nephew, Adruk Lobo, are denied this right and are continually confined.
They are still occasionally subjected to interrogations and beatings.
This extra punishment is because they have never confessed to committing a crime.
Tibetan relatives face discrimination
In Runggye Adak's community, villagers chose their own leader and local authorities usually respect this.
But after villagers chose a relative of Runggye Adak the authorities said they could not choose someone related to a political criminal. His relatives are not allowed to play a political role and are denied their political rights.
One of his nieces who graduated from university and was described as an excellent student is refused a good job because of her uncle.
More relatives of his are graduating soon and will likely face this discrimination.
Any relatives who want to get passports are refused.
One family member in exile said: “the family feels they can do nothing, they just have to wait until he finishes his sentence. It is hopeless situation; they just have to wait for him to come home.”
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