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Tortured political prisoner dies two days after being released PDF Print E-mail
[16 December 2014] On 5 December, Tenzin Choedak, a Tibetan political prisoner, died just two days after being released from prison by the Chinese authorities. Choedak had served less than six years of a 15-year sentence and was in extreme ill-health when he was released into the care of his family. It is suspected he died of injuries sustained from torture and maltreatment.

Tenzin ChoedakTenzin Choedak (pictured right), aged 33, was a social worker and environmentalist, who previously worked for a European NGO affiliated with the Red Cross. Also known as Tenchoe, he was arrested in April 2008 following protests in Lhasa. In September 2008, he was sentenced on charges of being a ringleader of the protests and imprisoned in Chushur prison near Lhasa.

According to sources quoted by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Choedak initially sustained injuries whilst in police custody following his arrest and was also beaten and tortured whilst in Chushur prison.

In November 2014, Choedak's health deteriorated resulting in the prison authorities taking him to three different hospitals for treatment. Choedak was seen at one of the hospitals with his hands and legs heavily shackled. An eyewitness told TCHRD, "He was almost unrecognisable. His physical condition had deteriorated and he had brain injury in addition to vomiting blood."

Tenzin Choedak was released from prison on 3 December and died two days later.

Tenzin Choedak was born in Lhasa and escaped to India in 1990. He studied at the Upper Tibetan Childrens Village school in Dharamsala, northern India before returning to Tibet in 2005.

Tibetan political prisoners are routinely subject to torture and ill-treatment whilst in custody. The Chinese authorities often release prisoners who are critically ill or injured in order to prevent their deaths from being recorded in custody. In March, another Tibetan political prisoner, Goshul Lobsang, died five months after being released from prison, succumbing to injuries received from being tortured whilst in detention.

Further reading: TCHRD I RFA I Phayul
Goshul Lobsang's case: TCHRD

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