The Tibetan monk Rinchen Tsultrim has received a sentence of four years and six months in prison, according to new information confirmed by Tibetan sources in exile. The International Campaign for Tibet had reported in December 2020 that the 29-year-old monk had been held in detention incommunicado for over a year since fall 2019 for expressing his views peacefully.
Although Rinchen’s prison term is now known, no details could be confirmed as to the charges, his trial date and the court that passed the judgement.
On 26 March 2021, after over a year and a half of his incommunicado detention, the Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Public Security Bureau verbally told Rinchen’s family that he had been sentenced to four years and six months in prison, and that he is being held in a prison in the city of Chengdu. Although the name of the prison could not be ascertained, the family has been told to follow the procedures for a prison visit. The family is yet to see an official document regarding Rinchen’s imprisonment.
The International Campaign for Tibet believes that Rinchen has been charged with “incitement to split the country” for expressing his views on the Chinese social media WeChat app.
ICT is concerned that Rinchen has been detained solely for expressing his views peacefully. According to the information available, he exercised his rights as protected under international law. While ICT calls for his immediate release, his family and lawyers should be granted access to him, and he should receive adequate medical treatment, if needed.