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30september20094Dharamshala: On the third anniversary of his arrest, footage of Runggye Adak, a Tibetan nomad imprisoned for publicly calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and denouncing Chinese policy in Tibet, has been released by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) as their steadfast global campaign for his release intensifies.

The footage reveals an excerpt of the speech Adak delivered at the annual Lithang Horse Racing Festival in Kardze county, eastern Tibet, on 1 August 2007, immediately after which he was arrested by Chinese police. He is now serving an eight-year sentence for his actions.

The transcript, which has been translated by the International Tibet Support Network (ITSN), provides an insight into political protest inside Tibet seldom seen by the rest of the world: "These things have happened to us," says Adak. "Did you hear what has happened to us? Although we can move our bodies, we cannot express what is in our hearts. You know? These days there are those who say we don't need the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is the one that we six million Tibetans truly [need]."

As a result of his call for the Dalai Lama's return, which was interpreted as a call for independence, Adak was charged by Chinese authorities with ‘provocation to subvert state power' and his speech was labeled a ‘major political incident', and resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.

Adak's son, 25-year-old Jamyang Lobsang, who now resides in India after fleeing Tibet, has made a plea as part of the current campaign for the release of his father, who is said to be suffering from stomach ailments and loss of eyesight. "My father Runggye Adak is innocent," said Jamyank. "What he said is true and represents the wishes and aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet."

Following the arrest in 2007, over 200 Tibetans congregated outside Lithang police station demanding Adak be released. The protesters were met with tear gas, stun guns, metal batons and further detainment. Several of those close to Adak were also arrested, including his nephews Adak Lopoe and Jamyang Kunkhyen, who are serving prison sentences of ten and nine years respectively for informing international media of the speech.

The footage released today by ICT exemplifies the lack of freedom that Tibetans are granted, and the dire consequences they must endure if they choose to take a stand.

The recording was captured by a Western film-maker who was unaware at the time of the significance of what he was shooting. He wishes to remain anonymous.