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Tibetan linked to self-immolation is detained after evading arrest for 3 years

October 17, 2016

Radio Free Asia, October 11, 2016 - A Tibetan man accused of supporting a self-immolation protest in northwestern China’s Gansu province has been taken into custody by police after evading arrest for three years, Tibetan sources say.

Sangdak Kyab was detained at around 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 29 by 10 officers who arrived at his home in Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county’s Sangkok township, a Tibetan monk living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“His wife Jamkyi asked police the reason for his arrest, to which the police replied that ‘she knew the reason very well,’” RFA’s source said, citing contacts in Sangchu.

Following a self-immolation protest in 2013 in Gansu, Kyab and three others were accused of transporting the protester’s remains to the man’s home so that they would not be seized by police, the source said.

Three who were caught—Dorje Namgyal, Jinpa, and Dorje Tashi—were sentenced to terms of from two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years which they have now served, but Kyab escaped arrest and went into hiding.

“This year, after seeing the others had been released, Kyab returned home thinking that the situation had been resolved, but the police then raided his house,” RFA’s source said.

“He is now being held in detention,” he said.

On Oct. 6, police called Kyab’s family to say they would be allowed to bring food to him in jail, but that the food should not be cooked at home, the source said.

“Instead, the food should be prepared in a restaurant, they said. And they instructed further that while Kyab would be permitted to receive meat, that meat should contain no bones.”

Food brought by Kyab’s wife the following day was taken inside the jail, but she was not allowed to visit, the source said.

“So no information is available about Kyab’s present state of health or whether he has been tortured in jail,” he said.

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

A total of 145 Tibetans living in China have now set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.

Reported by Sonam Topgyal for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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