Phuntsok Nyidron was one of Tibet’s longest held political prisoners.
At the age of 17, she joined the Neu-Chung Ri Nunnery. On 14 October 1989, Phuntsok was arrested for taking part in a peaceful pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa. She was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment on charges of “Counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement against the masses” and being a “ring-leader” of the demonstration.
While in prison, in 1993, Phuntsok along with 13 other nuns recorded a series of “songs of freedom”, which when uncovered resulted in another 8 year sentence, taking her total prison term to 17 years.
Due to international outcry and advocacy, Phuntsok was released from prison in 2004, and later granted medical leave to travel to the United States. She then moved to Switzerland, where she successfully claimed political asylum.