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Detained Tibetan's wife details grim torture

June 25, 2010

Sudeshna Sarkar
Sify (india)
June 24, 2010

As China refused to release a noted Tibetan
environmentalist and businessman arrested
allegedly on 'trumped up' robbery charges, his
wife has taken to blogging in a desperate bid to
tell the world of the 'hundreds of different
cruel torture methods' inflicted on him and fellow prisoners.

'I just didn't recognise him,' writes Dolkar Tso,
wife of Karma Samdrup, the 42-year-old whose
arrest in January has sparked international concern.

'How could his tall and upright body become thin
and small?' wonders Dolkar in her blog posted
Wednesday, after she attended the trial of her
husband and was allowed to speak to him.

Samdrup, a well-known Tibetan art collector and
founder of the Three Rivers Environmental
Protection Group, was arrested on the charge of
'grave robbery' after he urged the authorities to release two of his brothers.

His brothers Namgyal and Rinchen Samdrup were
arrested last year after the local environmental
protection group they had created in their
village in Tibet's Changdu prefecture highlighted
alleged environmental abuses by local officials,
including the hunting of protected species.

Rinchen Samdrup is still in custody while Jigme
Namgyal is serving a 21-month
re-education-through-labour sentence for 'harming national security'.

'These are test cases for the Chinese
government,' said Sophie Richardson, Asia
advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. 'These
people embody the characteristics the government
says it wants in modern Tibetans - economically
successful, lending support to only approved
cultural and environmental pursuits, and
apolitical - yet they, too, are being treated as criminals.'

In her blog, Dolkar says the account they were
told exceeded their 'worst imaginations'.

'We heard about hundreds of different cruel
torture methods, maltreatment around the clock,
hitherto unheard of torture instruments and
drugs, hard and soft tactics, and even of fellow
prisoners being grouped together to extract a confession,' she wrote.

If her husband wanted to eat or go to the toilet
he had to write an 'IOU'. He has already incurred a 'debt' of 660,000 RMB.

'The 'purchased' food would first be crushed by
people using their feet (and) there would be
beatings for no reason,' Dolkar said.

She added that her husband was already mentally
prepared for death and had written a letter to
tell his relatives what to do after his death.

The Washington-based International Campaign for
Tibet said in a statement Thursday that as
concerns about the three brothers' situation
increased, other Tibetans were being linked to the case.

Their cousin, Sonam Choephel, has been sentenced
to one and a half years of re-education through
labour for petitioning against their detention
while 20 villagers from the brothers' home area
were detained, interrogated and tortured for 40
days after they went to Beijing to petition the
authorities again, the ICT said.

Another cousin, a monk called Rinchen Dorje, who
had acted as Karma Samdrup's interpreter in 1998,
had been detained by police in March and his whereabouts are still not known.

Karma Samdrup's mother, who is in her 70s, was
beaten unconscious by police led by a party official, the statement said.

'The cases are in the context of a deepening
crackdown in Tibet in which almost many
expressions of Tibetan identity or support for
Tibetan culture can be accused of being
'reactionary' or 'splittist',' ICT said.

'For the first time since the Cultural
Revolution, intellectuals and prominent figures
in the community are being targeted more
systematically for their work or views.'

Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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