Runggye Adak released after completing eight years

A screen grab image showing Runggye Adak speaking during a government-organised horse-race festival in Lithang, eastern Tibet, on 1 August 2007.

A screen grab image showing Runggye Adak speaking during a government-organised horse-race festival in Lithang, eastern Tibet, on 1 August 2007. Image source unknown

Tibet Sun Onlinenews

ON THE WEB, 31 July 2015

A Tibetan nomad who was imprisoned for staging a peaceful protest eight years ago has been released after the completion of his sentence, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Runggye Adak was released from prison and brought home by officials at around 1 am local time on 31 July, in Lithang County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

TCHRD says in a statement that Runggye Adak was imprisoned for staging a peaceful, solo protest, and giving expression to the common aspirations of many Tibetans. He was charged with “inciting to split the country” and “undermining national unity”, according official Chinese media sources.

Adak went up on the stage and shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence, let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet, and release the Panchen Lama, during a government-organised horse-racing festival on 1 August 2007.

He also called on local Tibetans to stop fighting among themselves over land, water, and harvesting of the prized Yartsa Gunbu (caterpillar fungus). He then climbed down from the stage and went straight to Naglu Tenzin, a monk who was actively involved in the “patriotic education” campaign and denounced on his face his double standard in dealing with the religious affairs of the monastery. He again went back to the stage and continued shouting slogans until the police took him away.

Following his detention, local Tibetans approached the County Detention Centre and held peaceful demonstration calling for his release. Tibetans in and around Lithang turned up in large numbers, some setting up tents and spending days holding demonstrations.

On 20 November 2007, following months of beatings and torture in detention, the Ganzi Intermediate People’s Court located in Dartsedo (Ch: Kangding) sentenced Adak to eight years in prison. He completed his term at Mianyang Prison near Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

The same court sentenced six other Tibetans for taking part in the demonstrations calling for Runggye Adak’s release. Adrug Lopoe and Adrug Kelsang Gyatso, both nephews of Runggye Adak, were sentenced to 10 and five years respectively, while artist and schoolteacher Jamyang Kunkhyen was sentenced to nine years. Lothok and Jamyang Tenzin were sentenced to three years each, and Lobsang Phuntsok got a year and a half in prison.

They were charged with “contacting hostile foreign forces” and “sharing state secrets with separatists”. Jamyang Tenzin was released after the completion of his sentence but was arrested again and later sentenced to three years.

Adak was 52 when he was detained. During detention, he suffered severe beatings and torture that partially damaged his vision in one eye and rendered him deaf in one ear. It is not uncommon for many Tibetan political prisoners to die before the completion of their terms due to lack of medical care in prison for injuries sustained during detention.

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