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Tibetan monk handed nine-year prison term in secret trial

September 1, 2014

August 27, 2014 - A Tibetan monk held for almost two years on suspicion of involvement in activities challenging Chinese rule has been handed a nine-year prison term in a secret trial, with his family only recently learning of his fate, according to sources in the region and in exile.

Geshe Tsultrim Nyendrak, 40, a teacher at the Rabten monastery in Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture, had been detained in the Tibetan capital Lhasa in December 2012 with his whereabouts unknown until now, a Tibetan living in exile in Belgium told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“On July 31, Chinese authorities informed Geshe Nyendrak’s family members that he is serving his prison term in Chushul prison near Lhasa,” according to the exile source, named Samdrup.

Nyendrak has been “subjected to torture while in prison,” a second source told RFA, speaking from Tibet on condition of anonymity.

“His health condition is very poor, and authorities have not acknowledged requests by his family that he be given medical care,” he added.

Nyendrak’s Rabten monastery was one of three—including Tarmoe and Drongna—monasteries closed in Driru in December 2013 by Chinese authorities, according to sources in the region.

The closings came after paramilitary police were assigned to enforce political re-education campaigns in the county while screening for dissident monks and restricting activities in the monasteries.

Since resistance began last year to a Chinese campaign in Driru forcing displays of loyalty to Beijing, hundreds of Tibetans have been detained in the restive county, sources say.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

Reported by Soepa Gyamtso and Yangdon Demo for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Rigdhen Dolma and Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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