Political Prisoner Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso Released
Lodoe Gyatso or Sogkhar Lodoe, 55, hails from Sogkhar County in the traditional Kham region of Tibet. He was jailed for 21 years leading up to his release date on March 2nd, 2013. He was arrested again at around midnight on May 15th of this year in Lhasa and taken into custody for interrogation. The details of his arrest by police officials are unknown.
Sogkhar Lodoe was initially arrested on personal charges and sentenced by the Nagchu prefectural intermediate court to a term of 15 years in the notorious Drapchi prison on January 17th, 1993. On March 4th, 1995 while serving his sentence in Drapchi, Sogkhar Lodoe urged the entire prison to join him in protesting the Chinese rule over Tibet, calling out “Tibet is independent”, “Chinese out of Tibet”,”Long live his holiness the Dalai Lama” and “Unity among the six million Tibetans”. He reportedly distributed more than 300 hand written pamphlets inside the prison. Sogkhar Lodoe was given a death sentence three days after senior jailers sent an application to the court.
Around the same time, the director of the U.N. vigilance committee repeatedly urged the Chinese government to abandon the death sentence handed over to Lodoe. Amnesty International also contacted Chinese authorities. As a result, the court revised its decision, rescinding the death penalty and instead adding an additional six years to the earlier adjudicated prison term of 15 years for a total of 21 years. Lodoe was denied all political rights for three years at that time.
Lodoe was interrogated and suffered inhuman torture for more than a month after his protest until April 5th of the same year. Heavy shackles were placed around his neck until his body bent. At times his thumbs were cuffed and he was hung from a beam for many nights with a meagre meal consisting nothing more than a Tingmo and two full glasses of water. During interrogation he was ordered to accept the charges levied against him if he wanted to remain alive. However, he replied that he would not accept the charges even if it cost him his life.
Lodoe Gyatso aka Sogkhar Lodoe is from Sogkhar village, Tsadrok township of Sog county in the Nagchuprefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. Intellectually moulded by his father during his childhood days, Lodoe, an agile young man, was a member of Sog County’s traditional dance troop. Twice, he was the winner of a major rock lifting competition. A strong nationalist at heart with a strong will to match, a brave opposition to oppressors and a compassionate supporter of the powerless. A shining example of a brave Tibetan hero, according to many of his fellow inmates.
Sogkhar Lodoe is being cared for by his mother and five sisters along with a younger brother. His son, born before Lodoe entered prison, tragically lost his life despite no prior health problems.