Tibetan political prisoner Jigme Gyatso released after 17 years

The Chinese government has released a Tibetan political prisoner after holding him for 17 years on charges of endangering national security and separatism. Jigme Gyatso, a 52-year-old former monk, has returned to his hometown of Kanlho. He was originally due to be released next year but was freed a year early because of poor health brought on by harsh prison conditions.

Gyatso was one of Tibet’s better-known political prisoners, with numerous organizations calling for his release. Arrested during a crackdown on protests in 1996, he was reportedly beaten and tortured in 1998. In 2004, his 15-year sentence was extended by three years because he shouted for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Photo: International Campaign for Tibet