A Tibetan monk who was recently released after completing a seven-year prison term is in critical condition following injuries suffered during detention and lack of medical care in prison.
Palden Thinley, 26, was released from Deyang prison on the afternoon of 17 May 2015 in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham, according to information received by Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
On the day of his release, prison authorities handed over Palden Thinley to County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers in Kardze apparently to prevent local Tibetans from giving him a hero’s welcome. At around 3 am on 18 May 2015, the Kardze County PSB handed over Thinley to Dhato Township PSB, who in turn secretly summoned his family at night to pick him up.
At his home, Thinley was welcomed with khatas by his relatives and other local Tibetans.
In recent years, as a gesture of defiance, local Tibetans have increasingly resorted to welcoming released political prisoners with elaborate ceremonies such as offering khatas (traditional ceremonial scarves), burning incense and throwing lungtas (paper prayer flags) in the air. Such ceremonies are viewed with suspicion by the Chinese authorities who continue to maintain that there are no political prisoners in Tibet.
Speaking to the TCHRD, Gonpo Thinley, a former prison mate of Thinley and now living in exile in India said, “Due to terrible conditions in prison, such as lack of enough food and clothing, and the fact that he was beaten and tortured, Palden Thinley suffered severe injuries, including kidney and abdominal injuries.”
Palden Thinley, a monk from Kardze Monastery, was detained on 18 May 2008 along with fellow monks Jampa Dorje, Gangkar Thinley, Jamyang Tsering and Tsewang, when they took part in a non-violent protest against the Chinese government in Kardze town.
They had raised slogans for the long life of Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet.
Following his arrest, Thinley, who was 19 at the time, was sentenced to seven years in prison for ‘inciting to split the nation’ by the Kardze People’s Intermediate Court.
Fellow monks Jampa Dorje, Gangkar Thinley, Jamyang Tsering and Tsewang received sentences ranging from one year and a few months to three years.
Palden Thinley was born and raised in Dhato Township in Kardze County.