Deaths in Custody

In 1996, TCHRD recorded three Known cases of deaths in custody in Tibet tortured by prison Officials

On 6 May 1996, 19-year-old Sangye Tenphel (lay Name: Gonpo Dorjee) died due to torture whilst in Drapchi Prison. He was a monk of Khangmar Monastery in Djamshung, 162 north-west of Lhasa. Sangye Tenphel was severly beated up with an eletric baton and a cycle pump by two prison officials. His ribs were broken during the course of his interrogation and he was reportedly suffering brain damage before his death.

Sangye had been arested on 15 April 1996 for a demonstration around the Bharkor area in Lhasa. Kalsang Thutop, a 49-year-old Drepung monk, died on July 1996. Kalsang could not speak when he returned from a two-hour interrogation session in Drapchi Prison. That night he was rushed to the hospital where he died a few hours later.

Kalsang Thutop was given a sky burial. It was observed by the Topdhen (the person who performs the sky burial) that one of Kalsang Thutop’s testicles had been brutally squeezed. Kalsang was serving an 18 year sentenced for his involment in the 1989 Lhasa demonstrations.

On 14 September 1996, Tenchok Tenphel died while in Sakya detention centre just two weeks after his arrest. 2-year-old Tenchok was a monk of Sakya onastery,152km west of Shigatse. He had been arrested on 1 September 1996 during a ritual dance performance before Chinese officials.

Tenchok Tenphel’s body was cremated on 17 September before his family could see him. His family was told that he had committed “suicide”

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