Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for expressing loyalty to the Dalai Lama in front of an audience of thousands at 2007 traditional Lithang Horse Festival in eastern Tibet is reported to be in a serious health state.
Close relatives say Adak's health has deteriorated over the years and that repeated torture in Miyang prison has resulted in his vison and hearing impairment. “Runggye's eyes and ears have been severely damaged and parts of his body are suffering acute pain” Adak's nephew Atruk Tsetan said in a phone interview..
Five years ago on August 1, 2007, Runggye Adak, who is in 50s, took the microphone at a major horse festival and spoke to a crowd of thousands who had gathered for the opening ceremony. He spoke for several minutes before he was detained by armed police who made their way to the stage.
Sources who witnessed the incident report that Runggye Adak called for the Dalai Lama to return home to Tibet.
Immediately after his detention, local Tibetans crowded into the courtyard of the police station to protest his detention before being dispersed by police. Several days afterwards, Tibetans again gathered outside the town before getting dispersed by riot police using tear-gas and firing guns into the air.
Chinese official statements say Runggye Adak had been detained "for inciting separation of nationalities." Authorities have charged Adak with subversion for calling for the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader. He had been detained in the town of Lithang in Sichuan province for now five years.
Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet released the footage below -subtitled in English - that shows an extract of Runggye Adak's on-stage statement at the traditional Lithang Horse Festival in eastern Tibet on August 1, 2007.