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Tibetan former political prisoner dies from chronic ill health

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Lekshey Thubten dies due to long-term poor health following release from prison

Lekshey Thubten, a former political prisoner of  around 50 years of age, has passed away due to ill health. Thubten lived in Lhundrub County in central Tibet near Lhasa, where he was a monk at Phenpo Nalanda Monastery. A source who studied at the same monastery and who was close to Thubten has said that he passed away on either 1 or 2 April.

Thubten was arrested in March 1995 for protesting against the patriotic re-education campaigns carried out in his monastery. Such campaigns, targeting monasteries and nunneries, are designed to force upon monks and nuns the concept of Tibet being part of China, and to identify and punish dissidents.

He was detained in Gutsa prison for two years then transferred to Drapchi Prison, where he was held for 3 more years. During Thubten’s five years in detainment he suffered tremendous physical and mental torture, and was said to have frail health after his release in 2000.

The source close to Thubten, themself a former political prisoner in Tibet, firmly believes that the excruciating torture Thubten underwent in prison led to a condition of chronic ill health which eventually claimed his life, saying:

“Our brother of same fate has passed away…”