The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirmed information that, Geshe Sonam Phuntsok, a former political prisoner who spent five years in prison for his religious activities and for conducting a long life prayer ceremony for the Dalai Lama in October 1999, passed away on 5 April 2008 in Kardze after a prolong battle with multiple illnesses following a lengthy imprisonment and maltreatment in the prison.

As per the earlier information received by the TCHRD, Geshe Sonam Phuntsok, popularly known as Kardze Geshe, was in poor health for the long period of time since his release from Chuandong no. 3 Prison in Tazhu County in October 2004. Geshe Sonam Phuntsok, 57 year-old, was a hugely popular religious figure particularly in Kardze. Since his release from prison in October 2004, Geshe Sonam Phuntsok was put under virtual house arrest as movements outside his residence were severely restricted that Geshe has to seek official permission even for any medical treatment. His activities particularly in religious spheres were under constant surveillance from the authorities.

TCHRD mourns the death of Geshe Sonam Phuntsok, a popular religious figure of Kardze and considers his untimely demise as a direct result of the lengthy imprisonment, maltreatment in the prison and lack of timely medical attention after release along with constant mental harassment that he has to undergone till his last breath.