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Tibet-Ngawang-Gyurme-2015Dharamshala — A Tibetan monk has been released from prison after serving a 15-year sentence for reportedly protesting Chinese repressive rule in Tibet.

"Ven Ngawang Gyurme, a monk of the Sog Tsanden monastery in Sog County in the Kham region of eastern Tibet (Ch: Suo, Naqu prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region), was released on March 20, 2015," Mr Ngawang Tharpa told the Tibet Post International on Saturday, March 21.

Ven Gyurme and five others were arrested on March 17, 2000, on charges of "harming national security" and "spreading negative propaganda," he said.

"He was charged with allegedly printing and distributing leaflets and posters calling for Tibetan independence, long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and demanding Chinese leave Tibet," sources said.

"A sentence of 15 years was handed down by the Nagchu Prefecture People's Intermediate Court and he was held first in Drapchi prison and later at Chushur prison," he added.

Gyurme is a native of Trokta village, Sog County in Kham region of eastern Tibet. He is a monk at Sog Tsanden Monastery where he studied for over twenty years. He was one of main leaders in monastery constructions later arrested and charged on political ground, allegedly spreading negative propaganda.

"Two of his colleagues — Yeshe Tenzin and Tenzin Choewang received short-term prison sentences but later died after being released in serious health condition," sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The other three — Tsering Lhagon and Trakru Yeshe were sentenced to 15 years and 7 years respectively and Sey Khedup was sentenced to life in prison.

Over 1.2 million Tibetans died between 1949 and 1979, as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet.

Since 2009, at least 136 Tibetans have self-immolated, in response to Chinese leadership's 'iron fist' and their ongoing hard-line policies in Tibet.

This wave of self-immolation protests that marked the biggest wave of self-immolation in modern history and with more than 117 of those resulting in death.

In Tibet today, Tibetans are being arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned and tortured for merely expressing their suffering under Chinese rule.

However, authorities in Beijing still claim that "China 'peacefully liberated' Tibet, and that the "Tibetans are living in a Maoist socialist paradise."

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