Jailed Tibetan monk died of heart attack: Xinhua

July 20, 2015 08:43
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was found unconscious after taking a nap, according to state media which said the Tibetan monk died of a heart attack. Photo: Washington Post

A prominent Tibetan monk who died in jail last week suffered a heart attack after refusing medical attention, according to Chinese official media, as questions continue to swirl around his death.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, 65, died in the Dazhu County People's Hospital in southwest China's Sichuan province, near the prison where he had been serving a life sentence for "crimes of terror and incitement of separatism", according to Reuters which cited state news agency Xinhua.

On Thursday, his sister Dolkar said he had been cremated against his family's wishes and in violation of Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

She also said officials had not told her the cause of his death, adding to her suspicions.

Xinhua said Rinpoche was unconscious after he took a nap at around mid-day on July 12.

Doctors from the hospital's emergency center sent him to the intensive care unit. He was declared dead about an hour later, it said.

Xinhua said Rinpoche refused to see doctors or take medicine.

Rinpoche was a supporter of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader who Beijing accuses of being a dangerous separatist.

He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in 2003 after being found guilty of masterminding five bombings in Sichuan province, Xinhua said.

The sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

The United States, the European Union and international rights groups had called for his release.

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