Ngaba youth blinded and jailed for leading Mar’08 protest


(, Feb 2) — A Tibetan youth was so tortured for leading protests on Mar 15, 16 and 17 in Ngaba County of Sichuan Province last year that he was blinded in his left eye, besides being severely injured on his head and limbs, reported Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) Jan 31, citing “reliable sources’. It said the youth, Choephel of Urjamtsang family in Unit No. 2 of Meruma Township in Ngaba County was jailed for 10 years by the Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Prefectural court on Nov 4, 2008. The sentence was later reduced to four years for his past clean record, it said.

Choephel was accused of leading protests and the looting and ransacking of the County Public Security Bureau (PSB) office, besides burning Chinese national flag during the protests. Police stormed his home on Mar 17 and beat him severely, resulting in injuries to his left eye, head and limbs. However, he managed to free himself and fled up the nearby hill. He was caught when he returned home after a few days, on Apr 4. His father, Urjam, was subjected to rigorous interrogations by the township police.

Despite frantic efforts, Choephel’s family could not locate him until they learnt at the end of Aug’08 that he was being held at the Barkham County police detention centre. Two members of the family were finally allowed to see him at the time of his trial and sentencing on Nov 4. But the family could actually meet him only on Jan 19, but were allowed to speak to him only in Chinese across a windowpane.


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