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Dharamshala: Palden Choedron, one of a group of 14 nuns who smuggled a recording of religious and patriotic songs out of their cells in Drapchi Prison in 1993, has escaped from Tibet and arrived in Dharamsala, north India, on September 1st.

Born in 1973 in Nyemo, near Lhasa, Palden became a nun at the age of 14 and was first arrested after a peaceful protest on Barkhor Street in 1990, after which she was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

In prison, along with a group of other nuns, she recorded songs praising the Dalai Lama and Tibet, hoping to demonstrate to the outside world that their spirits had not been broken by their harsh conditions. When the tapes were discovered, Palden's sentence was extended by five years and the group were reportedly subjected to torture, leading to the death of one of their number, Ngawang Lochoe.

According to US-based Tibetan non-government organisation ICT, Palden made an unsuccessful attempt to escape from Tibet four months after her release in 1998, and was sentenced to three more years in a 'reform-through-labour' camp. In 2006, all 13 remaining nuns were released, but were banned from returning to their nunnery and kept under constant surveilance. Five of the nuns remain in Tibet and eight now live abroad in exile.

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