Tibetan political prisoner released after nine years

Former Tibetan political prisoner Gangbu Rikgye Nyima
Former Tibetan political prisoner Gangbu Rikgye Nyima
8th March 2021

Gangbu Rikgye Nyima was released a year early due to poor health resulting from torture

Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch, has learned of the release of a political prisoner in eastern Tibet last month. Gangbu Rikgye Nyima was released from prison in Kardze on 25 February after serving nine years of a 10-year prison term.

Nyima was released a year ahead of completing his term apparently because he was in precarious health due to torture and beating.

His family members were specifically warned not to come to the police station to receive him, and he was directly escorted to his home by the Chinese police. He has been banned from participating in any public gatherings.

According to Golog Jigme, a fellow political prisoner now in exile in Switzerland, Nyima is aged around 30 and was formerly employed in a hydropower station in Draggo County, Kardze.  He was one of 11 Tibetans detained for peacefully protesting against Chinese rule in Tibet at the time of the Tibetan New Year in 2012, in Draggo and Serta Counties. Those detained received sentences of between 10 and 14 years in prison.

While in prison, Nyima protested repeatedly against inhumane treatment towards the prisoners, and hence was tortured many times by the guards and sent to the Black Jail several times.

Black jails are a network of extra-legal detention centres established by Chinese security forces and private security companies across the PRC. They are used mainly to detain without trial, petitioners, who seek redress for grievances unresolved at the local level. 

After his release, the Nyima issued a statement for Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service: “I will never forget for as long as I live how the Chinese government put me behind bars and tortured me on false charges, and tore away all my human rights.”

“Never forget what it means to be a Tibetan,” he said, adding “don’t be discouraged, remain united, and always study your language and your religion. We all must be free from this repression.”

Tibetan political prisoners suffering ill health are sometimes freed in critical condition before the end of their terms, with at least seven reported during the last year to have died—either in prison or following their release—from injuries inflicted under torture in custody.

As Nyima arrived home, a local source reported a heartfelt conversation with his friends and family, in which he said, “I am not the same youth that I used to be and my memory is falling apart as well. However, I can assure you that I have never forgotten that I am a responsible Tibetan as I used to be and I will never forget this responsibility even if I have to roam in hell several times. You all should never abandon the thought that you are a Tibetan”.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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