political prisoner

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Burma Sets 73 Political Prisoners Free

But protesters still face arrest: activists

(Newser) - Following up on a promise made while in Europe, Burma's president is reportedly setting 73 political prisoners free today, adding to hundreds already let go. "The total number of remaining political prisoners has now dropped to lower than 100 for the first time in many years," says... More »

Suu Kyi Makes Landmark US Visit

Meanwhile, Burma releases hundreds of political prisoners

(Newser) - Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Washington today, to begin a 17-day US tour that would have been unthinkable a mere two years ago, when the Nobel laureate was still under house arrest in Burma. She will have meetings at the State Department and White House, and will receive the... More »

US Is Selling Out Uzbekistan

We ignore strategic ally's human rights abuses: Former prisoner

(Newser) - The US media rarely mentions Uzbekistan, but human rights there are in a deplorable state. Just ask Sanjar Umarov, who was jailed and tortured for years for speaking out against the massacre of mostly peaceful protesters in 2005. "I was drugged, beaten, falsely accused of directing the uprising,"... More »

Burma Frees Political Prisoners

Famous dissidents, ethnic leaders released

(Newser) - Burma is continuing to move toward meeting the West's demands with surprising speed. Dozens of its best known political prisoners were freed today in the country's most sweeping prisoner release yet, reports the New York Times . Those freed include leaders of 1988's failed pro-democracy uprising, ethnic minority... More »

Burma Releases 155 Political Prisoners

Prominent activist Zarganar among them

(Newser) - Burma today began releasing the 6,300 prisoners who will be granted amnesty, but so far the number of political detainees released does not come close to the estimated 2,000 who are in jail. The Telegraph puts the number of political prisoners released at 120, while the AP reports... More »

Burma Grants Amnesty to 6,300

Democracy advocates hope the group includes political prisoners

(Newser) - The ice might be breaking in Burma: The nation's rulers today announced that they will grant amnesty to 6,359 prisoners beginning tomorrow, sparking hopes among democracy advocates that the 2,000-some political prisoners being held will be among them. The government didn't explicitly say political prisoners would... More »

Hundreds Protest in Riyadh

More than 200 gather outside Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry

(Newser) - More than 200 Saudis were allowed to protest outside the Interior Ministry today to demand the release of detainees in the largest demonstration in the capital since the regional outbreak of pro-democracy unrest. A massive show of force snuffed out a Facebook-based effort to stage unprecedented pro-democracy protests in Riyadh... More »

Letters Show Jailed Mandela's Anguish

Leader's writings released in new memoir

(Newser) - Nelson Mandela sat in a prison cell for 27 years, alone and separated from his family, with not much more to do than write—waves of words documenting his anguish that are now being released in a new memoir, Conversations With Myself. Some excerpts, as per the BBC:
  • To wife
... More »

Cuba to Free 52 Dissidents

Decision could save life of man on hunger strike

(Newser) - Cuba has promised to release 52 political prisoners, after one of them went on an attention-grabbing hunger strike. Guillermo Fariñas, a 48-year-old psychologist and journalist, has been hospitalized thanks to his hunger strike, which he began back in February, after a previous hunger striker starved to death. Spanish foreign... More »

Argentina Media Heirs May Have Been Stolen Babies

DNA tests ordered by court

(Newser) - Brother and sister heirs to one of Argentina's largest media companies are being forced to undergo DNA testing to determine if they were stolen as babies from tortured political prisoners to be handed over to their adoptive tycoon mom. Human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo won a... More »

Burma Urged to Take US Citizen Out of Solitary

Diplomats want junta to return hunger striker to a normal cell

(Newser) - An American citizen jailed without charge in Burma since fall has been put in solitary confinement after ending a 12-day hunger strike this month, embassy officials say. Diplomats have requested that Kyaw Zaw Lwin be returned to a normal prison cell, the AP reports. Kyaw—whose mother and sister have... More »

Suu Kyi Launches Appeal as Junta Frees 7K Cons

Detained Burmese leader seeks to overturn extension of house arrest

(Newser) - Lawyers for detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi today appealed her recent conviction that extended her years of house arrest, a day after the ruling junta announced it was releasing thousands of prisoners. Reporters were banned from the hearing, where her lawyers insisted that the law under which... More »

Iran Admits Protester Was Beaten to Death

First official acknowledgment of post-election state violence

(Newser) - A man arrested in the upheaval following Iran's presidential election was beaten to death in jail, Iranian media reported yesterday—offering the first official acknowledgment that a detained protester died after the disputed vote. Officials had originally said the man died of an illness, but a coroner's report said he... More »

Iran Reformist Publishes Prison Rape Account

Karroubi says more allegations of protester abuse to come

(Newser) - A testimony released by defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi details a male protester's beating and rape at a notorious prison after the disputed election. The first-person account is just one of many, Karroubi alleges, and CNN reports that he will continue to publish them on his website "if... More »

Brutal North Korean Labor Camps Hold 200K

Prisoners face 15-hour days, malnutrition, executions: Korean bar

(Newser) - Some 200,000 political prisoners are held in North Korean labor camps, where they work up to 15 hours a day before dying of malnutrition by about age 50, the Washington Post reports. Testimony from survivors and former guards has been newly published by the Korean Bar Association, and new... More »

Mousavi Backers Tortured, Told to Confess Foreign Plot

Regime seeks to force 'confessions' implicating reformist in conspiracy

(Newser) - Iran's opposition says prominent supporters have been tortured in an effort to extract "confessions" that foreign forces in league with Mir Hossein Mousavi are plotting against the Islamic republic, the Guardian reports. Amnesty International, citing "very credible sources," says screams have been heard from reformist politicians jailed... More »

Obama Defends Handshake, Urges Cuba to Free Prisoners

Bolivian prez accuses US of assassination plot

(Newser) - President Obama defended his friendly chat with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and asked Cuba to free its political prisoners, the Wall Street Journal reports. At the close of the Summit of the America's today, Obama brushed off Republican criticism, saying that turning a new page with Venezuela and Cuba represents... More »

Chavez Rounding Up Top Political Foes

Is president tightening grip as oil prices drop?

(Newser) - The Venezuelan government arrested opposition figure Raúl Baduel yesterday, the second such move in recent weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports. Baduel, a former defense minister and ally of President Hugo Chavez, helped restore the president to power after a coup in 2002, but he helped rally opposition to... More »

'Missing' Journalist Is in Tehran Jail: Iran

Freelancer locked up after allegedly buying a bottle of wine

(Newser) - A day after an Iranian-American journalist's father said her whereabouts were unknown after an arrest a month ago, Iran today said she is being held in a Tehran jail for political prisoners, Reuters reports. The Iran foreign ministry said Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old who has reported for the BBC and... More »

Opponents of Mugabe Allege Torture in Court

Zimbabwe political prisoners suffered beatings, abuse

(Newser) - More than a dozen human rights activists and allies of Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were tortured by agents of Robert Mugabe, a court heard yesterday. The New York Times reports that the activists were abducted, detained in secret prisons, and brutalized until they confessed to crimes they had not... More »

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