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Prisoner of Conscience

Ngawang Gyaltsen

China announced the release of Ngawang Gyaltsen in September 2004.

Group 22 is now working on the case of Vietnam POC Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan). Click here for information and suggested action.

Ngawang Gyaltsen is serving a 17 year sentence (due for release in 2006). In 1987, he was one of 21 monks from Drepung Monastery who staged the first and most significant pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa, setting in motion the modern wave of political protest in Tibet. On their release from a four-month prison sentence, following the protest, nine of the original group and one outsider formed the 'Group of Ten' to work for the independence of Tibet and the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people.

The ten monks' non-violent political activities included the use of carved wooden blocks to print copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They also printed a document outlining their vision for the future, based on the 1963 Constitution drafted in exile by the Dalai Lama, proposing a democratic Tibet free from Chinese occupation.

Following their arrests between April and July 1989, a closed trial was held on November 30, 1989 where the ten monks received sentences of between five and 19 years for "seriously undermining national security". Ngawang Gyaltsen if one of four monks from the Group of Ten still detained in Drapchi Prison.

"I am astounded when I see in front of me all the activities listed and the evidence of so many letters written for the case of my friends and my own case before I was released. All this stuns me. My heart overflows when I realize what people have been doing for us, even though they didn't know us personally."
Jampel Monlam, Tibetan former prisoner of conscience

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