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Former Tibetan Political Prisoner Appeals for Release of Fellow Prisoners in Tibet - 2003-04-03

One of the Tibet’s most defiant and prominent political prisoners, Ngawang Sangdrol, says that she is lucky to be released from the Drapche prison in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, and to have arrived in the Untied States, a land of freedom. She said, “I really feel free now.”

In an interview with the Tibetan Service of the Voice of America, she said she cannot forget her fellow prisoners in Tibet and she appealed to the US Government and Congressional leaders and other international human rights groups to work on getting the release of one of the longest serving political prisoners, Phuntsok Nyidron, and other fellow prisoners in Tibet. She said these prisoners are suffering and they “are in extremely poor” health and that no proper medical care is given to them. She said when prisoners are badly beaten and even when they are bleeding badly, they are not given any medical care and that she also went through such experiences.

Ngawang Sangdrol said she will also make an appeal to U S Government officials and Congressional leaders to help restore the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people. Right now, she said, there are no human rights in Tibet. Any kind of political dissent is suppressed mercilessly. She said that she and other nuns staged only peaceful demonstrations, but were met with brutal force by the Chinese security forces.

“All former political prisoners are suffering from all kinds of discrimination in Tibet: they are constantly under the watchful eyes of the Chinese security people; they have no jobs because of the fact they are former political prisoners, and therefore, they are also suffering from poverty,” she said.

Ngawang Sangdrol, a nun of Garu nunnery, first became involved in political activities when she was 11 years old, participating in pro-independence demonstrations in Lhasa in 1987 and 1988. When she was 13 years old, she again participated in pro-independence demonstrations and at the time she was detained at Gutsa detention center.

She said that she and 13 other nuns composed and taped pro-Tibetan songs at night in Drapche prison in order to let the outside world know of their determination and struggle. She said that she was “very happy” that the cassette tape was successfully smuggled out of the country.