Political detainees

  • Vietnam: Academic arbitrarily detentained
    May 13, 2019

    Professor Pham Minh Hoang is a lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh City Polytechnic Institute, and, according to a statement released by his wife following his arrest, he is concerned with social justice and corruption.
    On 13 August 2010 Professor Pham Minh Hoang was arbitrarily detained under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code (VPC) on charges of belonging to a banned political group. Prior to his arrest the authorities had reportedly told the human rights defender that he would be arrested if he did not confess to belonging to the democracy group Viet Tan. Article 79 of the VPC bans any “activities aimed at overthrowing the Government”. Professor Pham Minh Hoang’s current detention location is unknown.
    Professor Pham Minh Hoang actively supported protests against bauxite mining in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He had also attended a conference that was held in Saigon which looked at the issue of Vietnamese sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. The Professor’s wife has reported that the police are investigating leadership training courses that Professor Pham Minh Hoang had offered to some of his students.
    On 29 November 2011, the Court of Appeals of the Supreme People’s Court reduced the sentence of human rights defender Professor Pham Minh Hoang from three years to 17 months.
    On 17 January 2012, Professor Pham Minh Hoang was released from prison.

  • China: Activist and his wife forcibly disappeared
    April 21, 2015

    Since March 2015, Mr. Qin Yongmina, a veteran Chinese dissident and Ms. Zhao Suli, his wife, have been forcibly disappeared. They were taken byby state security police officers and have been heard of since. Though many others detained or forced by state security police to take “vacations” during the National People’s Congress (NPC) in March 2015 have since reappeared, there is no such news about the couple.
    On 22 September 2016, authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan once more prolonged the pretrial detention of Qin Yongmin. His wife is still missing. Qin was initially detained in 2015 alongside his wife Zhao Suli, but Zhao disappeared several weeks later, and hasn’t been seen for months.

  • India: Political prisoner assaulted in front of prison for protesting the use of handcuffs
    March 20, 2015

    On 20 March 2015, Mr. Hem Mishra was assaulted in the Nagpur Prison premises after he objected against being handcuffed while being taken to the hospital for treatment. Police threatened him and inflicted injuries upon him following his refusal to be handcuffed. The Supreme Court of India has decreed against handcuffing convicts under trials when being taken from prison to court or to the hospital. Before his arrest, Mishra was a student at the Center for Chinese and South East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a youth activist who has voiced his protest over violations of human rights. In 2007 and 2008, he visited a number of activists involved in organizing youth and rural poor in Uttarakhand who were arrested on the allegation of Maoist links and helped them get legal support.

  • China: political activist assaulted upon release from detention
    December 22, 2014

    On the 18th December 2014, political activist Li Biyun was released from a 14-month detainment, but rather than being allowed to wait for her family and lawyer to collect her, she was beaten up and dumped on the roadside by authorities. This assault comes in the wake of severe mistreatment allegedly suffered by Biyun during her detention, in which she was repeatedly denied medical care or clean clothes.

  • Thailand: anti-coup activists sentenced to jail time by military court
    October 28, 2014

    On the 27th October 2014, the military court sentenced Yodyiam Srimatta, a red-shirt political activist, to a one year jail term for not reporting himself to the coup-maker and sentenced another anti-coup activist, Chainarin Kularb-am, to six months imprisonment for protesting against the coup. They were also fined 20,000 baht and 10,000 baht respectively.

  • China: Activist sentenced for ‘separatism’
    September 24, 2014

    On 23 September 2014, Mr. Ilham Tohti, an advocate for the rights of Muslim ethnic group and a professor at Beijing’s Minzu University, was sentenced to life in prison for separatism. He has been detained since last January 2014. The Urumqi People’s Intermediate Court ruled that he has been spreading lessons containing separatist ideas visa the website, Uygur Online.

  • China: supporter of detained academic denied entry
    July 8, 2014

    On 5 July 2014 Elliot Sperling, a friend and supporter of detained scholar Ilham Tohti, was detained, questioned, and deported when he attempted to enter China on a tourist visa. Chinese officials gave no reason for his detention and deportation, but it is almost certainly related to the fact that he has been a vocal supporter of Mr. Tohti. Mr. Tohti was detained on January 15 2014 and charged with seperatism on February 20. He has suffered inhuman treatment ranging from constant shackling to deprivation of food and water.

  • Thailand: journal editor again detained
    July 7, 2014

    On 7 July 2014, Thanapol Eawsakul, the editor of the Same Sky academic journal who has previously faced lese majeste charges, was detained by the Thai military for a second time. Mr. Eawsakul was originally detained on 23 May 2014 and released on 3 June on condition that he not leave the country without permission of the military and that he not engage in any political activity. The military deemed that facebook posts by Mr. Eawsakul violated the terms of his release, and he was forced into an unmarked car by plainclothes police on 7 June for another seven-day detention.

  • China: 7 activists formally arrested
    July 7, 2014

    On 3 July 2014, five activists who staged an activity commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown in Zengzhou were formally arrested along with their lawyers. Activists Chen Wei, Yu Shiwen, Hou Shuai, Fang Hongwei, and Dong Guangping had been in detention at Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center for 37 days before finally being charged with “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.” Their lawyers, Chang Boyang and Ji Laisong, were arrested under the same charges. The seven arrests bring the total of those charged for marking the anniversary of the crackdown to 17.

  • Vietnam: ex-political prisoner dies of cancer
    June 25, 2014

    On 3 April 2014, anti-mining activist Dinh Dang Dinh died of stomach cancer, two weeks after having been granted presidential amnesty. Dinh was originally detained in October 2011 for having circulated a petition denouncing a bauxite mine in the central highlands and was sentenced under Article 88 to a six year term for spreading anti-state propaganda. He was hospitalized in January, but his family claims that he did not receive adequate care until he was granted amnesty soon before his death.