According to additional information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) from reliable sources regarding the protest demonstration by 15 Tibetans in Lithang County yesterday, Sonam Tenpa, 29 years old and Lobsang Tenzin, 23, in particularly sustained severe injuries from the brutal beating at the site of the demonstration and the whereabouts of Gelek Kunga, still remains unknown.

According to sources, “following a peaceful protest by fifteen Tibetans in the streets of Lithang main market, they were later joined by few Tibetan onlookers in the street. The Lithang County Public Security Bureau (PSB) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) detained five more Tibetans along with 15 other known Tibetans who staged a peaceful protest demonstration in Lithang on 16 February 2009 and were brutally beaten, manhandled at the site of the demonstration before being forcibly loaded into military trucks. They are, Damdul (only one name) the head of Dekyi Village, Lithang County, two other Tibetans whose identities could not be ascertained at the moment, and two Tibetan nomad ladies of Sako Village in Lithang County, Yanglo and Dolma.” The latter two were known to have been released last evening.

The total number of Tibetans known to have been detained, since 15 February solo protest by Lobsang Lhundup of Nekhor Monastery and subsequent peaceful on 16 February, has reached 21.

According to some close associates, “Lobsang Lhundup is currently detained at Lithang County PSB Detention Centre whereas other Tibetan detainees are currently held in Lithang Tsagha PSB Detention Centre.” According to sources, on learning about their detention at Tsagha PSB Detention Centre, the family members and relatives went to visit the detainees, however, to their shock, Gelek Kunga who was detained along with other Tibetans was nowhere to be seen in the detention centre. Many fear for the safety and the well being of Gelek Kunga since his detention and disappearance.

“The Shops and restaurants remain closed yesterday following the peaceful protest in Lithang town. The vehicular traffic movement between Lithang and Bathang, which is around 6-7 hours journey distant, was brought to a grinding halt after the protest and subsequent deployment of massive troops into the areas to check further Tibetan protest,” sources added.

TCHRD calls upon the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to immediately locate the whereabouts and safety of Gelek Kunga and in all circumstances guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all the detainees, and should guarantee immediate and unconditional access to legal representation, their families and any medical attention required for the injured detainees. The Centre deems the case as an outright clampdown on the freedom of opinion and expression in Tibet.

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