Amnesty International, Group #139: Human Rights in Laos
To let the Laotion authorities know Prisoners of Conscience are not forgotten
- Ambassador, LaoPDR Embassy
H. E. Mr. Seng Soukhathivong
Human Rights in Laos
Dear Ambassador Soukhathivong:
I write to know the whereabouts of Thongpaseuth Keuakoun, Seng-Aloun Phengphanh, and Bouavanh Chanhmanivong.
The morning of 26 October 1999, the annual water festival, Thongpaseuth Keuakoun, Seng-Aloun Phengphanh, Bouavanh Chanhmanivong along with Keochay, and Khamphouvieng Sisaath were arrested for attempting to unroll posters at the National Assembly building. They were charged with treason and each given a 10-year prison sentence. All five men were part of the Lao Student Movement for Democracy (LSMD). LSMD’s concerns were for free education, a multi-party democracy, free and fair elections, and release of political prisoners.
Khamphouvieng Sisaath died in September 2001 in Samkhe prison, as a result of severe punishment by prison guards. Keochay apparently was released in 2002 but not known until 2006.
Thongpaseuth Keuakoun’s, Seng-Aloun Phengphanh’s, and Bouavanh Chanhmanivong’s 10-year prison sentence expired in 2009. However, their fate is not clear.
I respectfully request you confirm they were released and when. If Thongpaseuth Keuakoun, Seng-Aloun Phengphanh, and Bouavanh Chanhmanivong remain in prison, I strongly urge they be immediately and unconditional released and you notify me of their release.
I also request an immediately launch of an investigation into the circumstances of Khamphouvieng Sisaath’s death and to provide redress and compensation to his family,
Amnesty International believes all men to be Prisoners of Conscience. They were arrested for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly, all of which are rights under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
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