June 26, 2014
This report is an updated version of the report that was posted on June 24.
There is serious concern for the welfare of a respected and popular Tibetan lama, Khenpo (Abbot) Karma Tsewang, who remains in prison six months on from his detention without access to relatives, or doctor, and only intermittent access to his lawyer. Karma Tsewang, also known as Khenpo Kartse, is seriously ill with a liver condition according to Tibetan sources, and there are fears that he faces serious criminal charges.
Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser, who is based in Beijing, gave new information about possible charges against the Tibetan monk in a blog published on the six-month anniversary of Khenpo Kartse’s detention. She reported that his Chinese lawyer was told that charges against the Khenpo have changed from those of ‘endangering national security’ to ‘illegal harboring’ and ‘divulging state secrets’, connected to a self-immolation. When his lawyer, who was allowed only brief access to Khenpo Kartse, raised concerns about his health he was told that “because this was a major case involving stability maintenance they would not allow him to be released, and instead would continue to hold him in detention”, according to Woeser. The specific charges against him may not be clear if the case continues to be handled in secret.