June 28, 2006

Tibet’s last-known female political prisoner freed

BEIJING (Reuters) - Tibet's last-known female political
prisoner has been freed but her husband remains incarcerated
for "splittism," a San Francisco-based human rights watchdog
said on Thursday.

Nyima Choedron was released on February 26 after her
10-year sentence for "splittism" was commuted three times, the
Dui Hua Foundation said, quoting an e-mail from the Chinese
Foreign Ministry in response to a request for an update.

Her husband, Jigme Tenzin, was jailed for life in 2000, but
his sentence was reduced to 19 years in 2003 and by one year in
2005, said the foundation, which lobbies China to free
political prisoners. His sentence is now due to expire in July

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment. The
couple was accused of having links to an anti-Chinese protest
carried out by another Tibetan during the national minority
games in Tibet in 1999.

Chinese troops invaded Tibet in 1950 to impose Communist
rule, but many in the remote Buddhist region remain loyal to
its spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in

Chinese authorities closed the couple's Gyatso Children's
Home in Lhasa as an illegal business and the housed children
were dispersed, the foundation said.

The foundation quoted an unnamed source as saying Nyima
Choedron is with her daughter, now 7, who was born before her
arrest, and has visited her husband.