The United States has welcomed the release of Takna Jigme Sangpo and his arrival here for medical treatment, State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker revealed said a statement on July 16, 2002.

Following is the full text of the statement.

Press Statement (Revised)
Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 16, 2002

Release of Tibetan Political Prisoner, Jigme Sangpo

On Saturday July 13, Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest-serving political prisoner, arrived in Washington, D.C. after Chinese authorities allowed him depart China for medical treatment. He had been serving a 28-year prison sentence on charges of counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement when he was released on medical parole on March 31, nine years before the end of his sentence. Now in his 70s, Jigme Sangpo has spent a total of 35 years in prison between 1965 and 2002.

His release on medical parole and the recent permission for him to travel to the United States for medical treatment is the result of the active involvement of several Administrations, the Department of State and our diplomats posted in China, Congress, private Americans, and the community of non-governmental organizations. We welcome Jigme Sangpo’s release and hope that there will be other releases of those detained for the peaceful expression of their political or religious views.