Call for Medical Parole for Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, on the 13th anniversary of his imprisonment

Text of the letter sent by Representative Jim McGovern to the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Under Secretary Sarah Sewall, dated April 1, 2015. (Click to view larger)

Text of the letter sent by Representative Jim McGovern to the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Under Secretary Sarah Sewall, dated April 1, 2015. (Click for view larger)

As we mark the 13th anniversary of the arrest and detention of Tibetan Buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on April 7, 2015, a US Congressman, Jim McGovern, has asked the State Department to raise the case of his medical parole citing news reports of his ill health.

In a letter to the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Sarah Sewall, dated April 1, 2015, Representative Jim McGovern, says, “I respectfully request that you and others at the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in China make his release on Medical Parole a priority so that he might have the opportunity for medical treatment outside Tibet and China as soon as possible.”

In 2002, the Rinpoche was arrested on false charges of exploding bombs and distributing separatist leaflets. The only evidence against him was extracted from a relative during torture. The relative later recanted, clearing Rinpoche of any wrong-doing. Rinpoche’s trial was held in secret and even though he had no independent legal counsel and the evidence against him was non-existent, he received a death sentence. The sentence was later commuted to life in prison, and he remains there today.

People who know about Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s condition say that he is in need of urgent medical care. In his letter, Congressman McGovern says that “it is my understanding that he is eligible to be released under Chinese law under the terms of Medical Parole.”

Recognized by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnated lama in the 1980s, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has been a community leader and a staunch advocate for the protection and preservation of Tibetan culture, religion, and way of life for decades.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is widely respected by the people (both Tibetan and Chinese) in his home county of Lithang in eastern Tibet. Over 40,000 of them have signed their names to a petition asking for his release, each attesting to their signature by adding a thumbprint in red ink. Every single one of the 40,000 Tibetan signers knows that they risk their freedom and perhaps their lives by speaking out for the Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

The International Campaign for Tibet has been joining an international effort to call for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. We call for the immediate release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and urges governments to continue to explicitly raise his case and that of other Tibetan political prisoners with the Chinese authorities. We specifically call on the State Department to act on the communication from Congressman Jim McGovern and raise the issue of medical parole for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche with the Chinese authorities.

 

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