Home International Detained Tibetan’s wife details grim torture

Detained Tibetan’s wife details grim torture

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : As China refused to release a noted Tibetan environmentalist and businessman arrested allegedly on “trumped up” robbery charges, his wife has taken to blogging in a desperate bid to tell the world of the “hundreds of different cruel torture methods” inflicted on him and fellow prisoners.

“I just didn’t recognise him,” writes Dolkar Tso, wife of Karma Samdrup, the 42-year-old whose arrest in January has sparked international concern.

“How could his tall and upright body become thin and small?” wonders Dolkar in her blog posted Wednesday, after she attended the trial of her husband and was allowed to speak to him.

Samdrup, a well-known Tibetan art collector and founder of the Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group, was arrested on the charge of “grave robbery” after he urged the authorities to release two of his brothers.

His brothers Namgyal and Rinchen Samdrup were arrested last year after the local environmental protection group they had created in their village in Tibet’s Changdu prefecture highlighted alleged environmental abuses by local officials, including the hunting of protected species.

Rinchen Samdrup is still in custody while Jigme Namgyal is serving a 21-month re-education-through-labour sentence for “harming national security”.

“These are test cases for the Chinese government,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “These people embody the characteristics the government says it wants in modern Tibetans – economically successful, lending support to only approved cultural and environmental pursuits, and apolitical – yet they, too, are being treated as criminals.”

In her blog, Dolkar says the account they were told exceeded their “worst imaginations”.

“We heard about hundreds of different cruel torture methods, maltreatment around the clock, hitherto unheard of torture instruments and drugs, hard and soft tactics, and even of fellow prisoners being grouped together to extract a confession,” she wrote.

If her husband wanted to eat or go to the toilet he had to write an “IOU”. He has already incurred a “debt” of 660,000 RMB.

“The ‘purchased’ food would first be crushed by people using their feet (and) there would be beatings for no reason,” Dolkar said.

She added that her husband was already mentally prepared for death and had written a letter to tell his relatives what to do after his death.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said in a statement Thursday that as concerns about the three brothers’ situation increased, other Tibetans were being linked to the case.

Their cousin, Sonam Choephel, has been sentenced to one and a half years of re-education through labour for petitioning against their detention while 20 villagers from the brothers’ home area were detained, interrogated and tortured for 40 days after they went to Beijing to petition the authorities again, the ICT said.

Another cousin, a monk called Rinchen Dorje, who had acted as Karma Samdrup’s interpreter in 1998, had been detained by police in March and his whereabouts are still not known.

Karma Samdrup’s mother, who is in her 70s, was beaten unconscious by police led by a party official, the statement said.

“The cases are in the context of a deepening crackdown in Tibet in which almost many expressions of Tibetan identity or support for Tibetan culture can be accused of being ‘reactionary’ or ‘splittist’,” ICT said.

“For the first time since the Cultural Revolution, intellectuals and prominent figures in the community are being targeted more systematically for their work or views.”

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])