Tibetan sentenced to 18 years in prison for protest

18th April 2019

Chinese sentence political activist Lodoe Gyatso to eighteen years in prison in unknown location

The Chinese government has sentenced a Tibetan activist to eighteen years in prison after he released a video on social media calling for world peace and a free Tibet ahead of a protest outside the Potala Palace.

Lodoe Gyatso whose video went viral after he uploaded it in late January 2018, was most likely handed the prison sentence between September and October of the same year, although the exact date is unknown, his nephew in India, Ngawang Tharpa told Tibet Watch.

Free Tibet reported Gyatso missing in Lhasa days after he uploaded the clip. Gyatso’s partner who filmed it was also given a two year prison sentence for her involvement.

“Our land… is a zone of world peace.” Gyatso said in his video. “At the same time over one hundred Tibetan martyrs, male and female… have self immolated giving their lives for world peace and Tibet… Now on this very day 28 January 2018, I am going to act to start the world peace movement.”

It’s been confirmed the couple were detained and have now been sentenced but their location is still unknown, Tibet Watch said.

Earlier this week a reporter with Voice of America questioned an official of the Intermediate Public Court of Nagchu Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) about the case and was told it was a confidential matter of state.

Tharpa believes his uncle was sentenced without a court trial which is reportedly common for political prisoners in Tibet.

Between August and September 2018, the family reached out to a Beijing-based human rights lawyer, whose identity remains anonymous. The lawyer believes that Ladoe’s family were eventually unable to hire him because of pressure from the authorities.

Lodoe Gyatso comes from Sog county in Nagchu prefecture and is known for having strong political views towards Chinese authorities. He previously served twenty-one years in Dhrashi prison after he killed another man in a fight in 1995 which was unrelated to Chinese occupation, Tibet Watch said.

In prison Gyatso continued his activism handing out around three hundred handwritten letters opposing Chinese occupation and shouting pro-Tibet slogans. At one point he was sentenced to death although the punishment later changed to more time behind bars.

Gyatso’s hometown sits in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) where surveillance is known to be strict. Whole families and towns can reportedly be punished for the actions of Tibetans who are accused of causing trouble by Chinese authorities.

Punishments range from authorities banning work that provides essential sources of income to cutting off political rights and social welfare schemes like free schooling for children.

The location in which the pair are being held remains unknown. 

Watch the video he uploaded in January 2018 below. 

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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