Many Tibetans face arrest in Tibet without any formal charges.
They are often held in detention centres for a long period of time
without any legal representations and trial proceedings. Often the
ones who visit India are more vulnerable to arrest. The second photo
of Phuntsok Wangdu was taken during the brief period of his life
where his was not in Prison - where he was living in India.
The following the story exemplifies such a case. Phuntsok Wangdu
is now a 29 year-old from Taktse County in Lhasa City. He was once
a former monk of Gaden Monastery. As a child, he was taken care
of by his grandmother. When he was eight years old, he studied in
Mangstuk school for two years, then helped his parents at home.
When Phuntsok turned 14 years old, he joined the Gaden Monastery.
In 1990 when work team members visited his Monastery to carry out
the ìpatriotic re-educationî campaign, 18 monks including
Phuntsok were expelled from the monastery.
The 18 monks had criticised the work team members and infuriated
them. Moreover, they refused to be 're-educated'. That same day
the monks were taken to Taktse County where they were left in their
respective villages. The heads of the villages were specifically
instructed not to allow any of them to travel freely. They were
forbidden to return to their monastery.
Around October that same year, Phuntsok fled to India. He joined
the Buddhist Dialectic school in Dharamsala, India. In 1993 during
winter vacation, Phuntsok returned to Tibet to his 90 year-old grandmother
who was very dear to him. On June 17, 1993, TAR Public Security
Bureau (PSB) officers arrested Phuntsok on suspicious grounds and
detained him in Sangyip Prison. No reason was provided for his arrest.
In prison, he was subjected to severe beatings and was held there
for a period of six months without any legal documents relating
to his arrest. During that time he faced no legal proceedings. After
six months Phuntsok was released with many conditions imposed including
restrictions on his movements.
For about three years Phuntsok stayed in Lhasa. Then on the eve
of 1997 Tibetan New Year, he was arrested at his house together
with his brother and 19 year-old cousin. The three men were held
in Gutsa Detention Centre where they were brutally beaten. Reports
from unofficial sources indicated that Phuntsok's feet and arms
In May 1997 he was singled out and taken to a police station, west
of Lhasa where he was severely interrogated for a total of one month
and fifteen days. He was made to confess crimes that he did not
commit. In July 1997 Phuntsok was transferred to Gutsa Detention
Centre. Upon arriving in Gutsa he was subjected to further interrogations.
On the grounds of suspicion of instigating political activities,
Phuntsok was eventually charged with 'espionage'. He was sentenced
to 14 years imprisonment in June 1998, by the Lhasa People's Intermediate
His brother and cousin were charged with "assisting a 'splittist
sentenced to three years by the same court. Both men were transferred
to Drapchi Prison. Phuntsok continues to be held in Gutsa as he
appealed to the PRC for a re-trial. His grounds for appeal is that
he has committed no crime.
It has not been confirmed whether or not his appeal was considered.
Recently unofficial reports from visitors to the prison suggest
that Phuntsok has been behaving in a peculiar manner indicating
increasing emotional instability.