China to free last high-profile Tiananmen prisoner

A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard at Tiananmen Square in Beijing October 1, 2005. A Chinese journalist, jailed for splashing paint over a portrait of Mao Zedong during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, is due to be freed on Wednesday, his mother and a rights activist said, ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States. REUTERS/Jason Lee
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese journalist jailed for throwing paint at a portrait of Mao Zedong during the 1989 Tiananmen protests is due to be freed on Wednesday, his mother and a rights activist said, ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States.

The release of Yu Dongyue, 38, from more than 16 years in prison would leave about 70 Chinese political prisoners still serving time for their roles in the student-led demonstrations for democracy crushed by the army on June 4, 1989, the human rights watchdog Dui Hua Foundation said.

"He's the last major Tiananmen figure (to be released)," said John Kamm, chairman of the San Francisco-based foundation who helps secure the release of Chinese political prisoners.

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    Man released after 38 years, no trial
    A MAN who was accused of murder and languished in prison for 38 years after becoming lost in India's bureaucracy was reunited with his family today after finally being freed by a Supreme Court order.

    Jagjivan Yadav, 70, was greeted by around 700 people as he arrived in his village in Uttar Pradesh state, but said the only member of his family he recognised was his wife.

    "I can hardly recognise anyone. They say they are my relatives, but I do not remember," he said.

    The only person Yadav recognised was his wife, Patto Devi.

    Devi said she had thought her husband was dead, having lost touch with him after his arrest for the murder of a woman in 1968.

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    Forced Starvation Continues
    Laos (FFC) Lao military forces continue to use forced starvation as a weapon against the U.S. Secret veterans and their families in the remote mountains of Laos. Their future remains uncertain.

    Since the end of November, 2005, combined Lao PDR and SRV military units continue to buildup and have surrounded the veterans of the U.S. Secret veterans and their families. By early December, 2005, as the military campaign to wipe out the defenseless people in the jungle continues, leaders in the Xaysomboune Special Zone and Borikhamxay cried out to the United States government and the United Nations for intervention. Thus far, there have been no responses from the U.S. government, or the U.N. Since mid December 2005, the Lao PDR and Vietnamese military though not chasing and and hunting the veterans and their families, have surrounded them and occupied their food sources. The Lao PDR continues using starvation as a weapon to wipe out the former French and U.S. ally trapped in the mountainous jungles of Laos.

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    What became of the young Hmong refugees
    expelled from Thailand two months ago?
    It has been nearly two months to the day that 27 Hmong refugees – one adult and 26 teenagers aged 13 to 16—who were taken in by the provisional displaced persons settlement of Ban Houai Nam Khao (Phetchaboun province, Thailand), were expelled by the Thai authorities and sent back to Laos, according to concordant information received by the Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR). Click Here for full story

    Execution halted for injection review
    THE US Supreme Court today stopped the planned execution of Florida death row inmate Clarence Hill after his lawyers appealed saying that the chemicals to be used were inhumane.

    Hill, who had originally been due to be put to death yesterday with a lethal injection, won an 11th hour delay after his lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court arguing that his death would be cruel and inhumane under the US constitution.

    A single Supreme Court justice temporarily halted yesterday's execution and this was confirmed by the full court overnight so that it could review the case.

    Hill's lawyers based their argument on the combination of lethal chemicals to be used by the southern state in the execution.

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    Drug charge nurse trial
    AN Australian nurse held in Italy on drug smuggling charges is expected to face court next month, her lawyer has revealed.

    Carly Emma Morris, 26, from Port Elliot near Adelaide, was held by Customs officials after they allegedly caught her with 3.2kg of heroin as she crossed into the country from Switzerland.

    She now faces 20 years in jail and her only option for a lighter sentence is to plead guilty in a plea bargain that could see her serve between three and five years.

    Ms Morris has changed lawyers three times since she was arrested in October at Como in northern Italy after crossing the border by train.

    Each lawyer has provided the same advice.

    The only visitors she has had since have been lawyers and Australian consular officials.

    Her mother is expected to arrive next month as the trial begins.

    Her lawyer Daria Pesce said: "I have just taken up this case but I have been to see Carly in prison.

    "She is very frightened and scared at the prospect of going to trial.

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    Laos opens first shelter to protect female victims of abuse and trafficking

    BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - The Asia Foundation has opened Laos' first shelter to protect women and children who are victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking, the nonprofit organization said Thursday.
    The shelter, a walled compound on the outskirts of the capital, Vientiane, was built on land donated by the government, the San Francisco-based foundation said in a statement. The facility provides trained counselors and can house up to 50 women and children.

    "Until now, women who found themselves in violent situations had to return home at night," said Gretchen Kunze of the Asia Foundation.

    "This is a huge step forward for Laos," she said, contacted in Vientiane ahead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the shelter to be attended by Laotian officials.
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    Drug accused clears Corby

    HOLIDAY snap ... Malcolm McCauley and Schapelle Corby in the Bali jail.
    CONVICTED drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been cleared of any link to the Adelaide man facing drug charges with whom she was photographed in Bali's Kerobokan Prison.

    Breaking his silence, the man in the controversial photos – Malcolm McCauley, 60 – said he had visited Corby twice last year in Bali, but only as a tourist offering support during her trial.

    "A mate and I were in Bali, and we thought we'd go have a looksee in court," Mr McCauley said at his Adelaide home yesterday. "She's high profile, and she's an Aussie, that's why we and a lot of others were interested in it.

    "Her sister and mother thanked us for being there, like they were doing with a lot of groups."

    Mr McCauley said the first time he met Corby, 28, was at her court hearing in May. Corby's mother introduced him while she was in the holding cell at the court before inviting him to visit Corby in Kerobokan Prison the following day.

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  • Drug smuggler suspect mum on photos
  • Corby's mum to hand-deliver photos
  • Corby mum denies knowing drug suspect
  • Australian police evaluate new photographs of Schapelle Corby
  • Urgent Appeal for Photos/Photos have been examined
  • Schapelle Supporter hits back!
  • No Qantas-Corby link, says Keelty
  • Corby's mum has message for Leslie
  • November 24, 2005 Update from Mercedes Corby<
  • Schapelle's cell conditions worsen
  • Schapelle Update 07 Nov 2005
  • Corby's lawyers to offer new evidence

    Hicks denied access to Australian lawyer
    TONY EASTLEY: As Australian terror suspect David Hicks begins his fifth year in detention at Guantanamo Bay, his Australian lawyer's latest attempt to travel to Cuba has been rejected.

    David McLeod says the Government isn't providing enough legal aid funding to adequately represent Mr Hicks, and the latest refusal for legal aid is just another in a long list of basic rights that Mr Hicks has failed to receive since his capture in 2001.

    Krista Eleftheriou reports.

    KRISTA ELEFTHERIOU: For four years David Hicks has spent 23 hours each day in a prison cell. In that time he's been permitted to see his father Terry Hicks once and speak to him on three other occasions - the last time on Christmas Eve.

    TERRY HICKS: He was pretty down, but after speaking for 38 minutes his spirits were up.

    KRISTA ELEFTHERIOU: David Hicks has been charged under US law with conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy, but he's yet to face the military commission.

    The British High Court last month found he had a right to British citizenship.

    His lawyers hoped it would force that government to call for his release from Guantanamo Bay, as it did for nine of its citizens once held at the prison.

    But the British Government is appealing the court's decision.

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  • New Guantanamo prison not 'sign of permanency'
  • Hicks Speaks to Father & is concerned about UK appeal
  • David Hicks Wins U.K. Citizenship
  • Govt should feel embarrassed over Hicks: lawyer
  • Father of Australian Guantanamo detainee welcomes British decision
  • Australia may not welcome British citizen Hicks back home
  • PM blames Hicks' lawyers for case delay
  • Aussie Taliban offered prostitutes for information: ex-chaplain
  • Hicks's jail time 'would not count toward sentence'
  • Hicks's jail time should count: Downer

    Australia-Indonesia treaty 'ready'
    AUSTRALIA and Indonesia are poised to sign a landmark security treaty, according to Indonesian government sources.

    The wide-ranging pact encompassed not only counter-terrorism, intelligence and military cooperation but social, humanitarian and joint political concerns.

    At its core was a commitment from Australia not to intervene in Indonesia's internal affairs or undermine its territorial integrity.

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    Lives that become soap operas
    This has been the year of living dangerously for young Australians overseas. First Schapelle Corby, then the Bali Nine. Then Michelle Leslie and finally Tuong Van Nguyen.

    The inevitable media circus inflated their stories into national soap operas, almost like real-life episodes of Law and Order. Sadly, once the story ends the circus moves on. Apart from a brief burst of publicity about a photograph, we’ve heard very little about Schapelle Corby recently.

    Unfortunately, the day-to-day grind of serving a lengthy prison sentence isn’t very newsworthy. Van Nguyen also will fade from media attention fairly quickly.

    The powerful emotions swirling around these cases have clouded a few realities. Other countries in our region have very different laws and judicial processes from ours. They don’t like giving special treatment to foreign offenders, particularly those from Western countries.

    It isn’t that long ago that Singapore and Indonesia were colonies, with their people treated as second class citizens by Europeans. It’s hardly surprising that they resent being heavied by Australia about their punishment of convicted offenders.

    The message from all these cases is very clear. Don’t expect Australian laws and judicial processes in other countries. In some situations, like Schapelle Corby and Van Nguyen, the punishment may be out of all proportion to the crime.

    The fact that alleged offenders are Australian does not mean they are innocent, or entitled to lenient treatment. And no Australian government can easily change the outcomes of other countries’ judicial processes.

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    Australian on murder charge seeks bail
    An Australian cardiologist committed to stand trial in Uganda over his wife's murder is again seeking bail.

    Dr Aggrey Kiyingi has applied to the Ugandan High Court for bail on the grounds of poor health.

    Through his lawyer Mubiru Nsubuga, Kiyingi told Justice Remmy Kasule he suffered high blood pressure, backache and that at 51 years of age he could not cope with prison conditions.

    He said that it was his constitutional right to be granted bail, adding he was a man of dignity with a lot of property in Uganda and so could not flee.

    Justice Kasule said he would rule on the bail application on January 18.

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    Eight drug smugglers face death
    The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court sentenced Friday eight people to death and nine others to life terms for smuggling 78 kg of heroin in what is considered the largest drugs case in southern Vietnam.

    Mastermind Tran Xuan Ha, a 24-year-old college student, and some of his relatives got the death penalty.

    Three others got 20 years each while a dozen others got jail terms ranging from 5 to 20 years.

    The court also fined the traffickers between US$312 and 31,250 after a weeklong trial.

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    Australian jailed on terror charges
    A KUWAITI court has sentenced an Australian man to four years' jail for terrorist-related offences linked to bloody attacks in the country in January.

    Talaal Adree, 30, from Auburn in Sydney's west, was among 37 Islamists on trial as members of the "Peninsula Lions" group believed to be linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

    Six of the suspected militants were sentenced to death.

    Among those on trial were 25 Kuwaitis, seven stateless Arabs, two Jordanians, a Saudi, and a Somali.

    Other suspects received jail terms of between four months to 15 years, and one received a life term.

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  • Australian man jailed in Kuwait on terrorism charges
  • Adrey torture claims prompt protocol call
  • Six Lions sentenced to death; Harsh: Defense
  • Tallaal Sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  • Uncertainty surrounds plight of convicted terrorist
  • Tallaal Adrey Case Information.

    Payne given nine months jail over drugs
    An Indonesian court has sentenced Australian Graham Payne to nine months in prison for possessing small amounts of crystal methamphetamine and heroin.

    The 21-year-old Adelaide man has been in custody since his arrest in August in Medan on Sumatra.

    With time already served, Payne - who had taught English at a school in Indonesia - could be released from Medan's Tanjung Gusta Prison in April.

    He was also fined one million rupiah ($A137).

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    Hicks Speaks to Father & is concerned about UK appeal
    TER ROR suspect David Hicks isn't confident his British citizenship will secure his release from detention at Guantanamo Bay, his father said today. The British Government said today it would appeal a British High Court ruling two weeks ago in which a judge ruled there was "no power in law" to deprive Adelaide-born Hicks of British citizenship.

    Hicks, whose mother is British, has been detained by the US since his capture among Taliban forces in Afghanistan in December 2001.

    Britain's Home Office said today it would appeal the High Court ruling which granted British citizenship to Hicks, a 30-year-old Muslim convert from Adelaide.

    "The ruling by the courts was a disappointment. The Home Office was granted permission to make an appeal and we have done so," a Home Office spokesman said. No date has been set for the appeal.

    Hicks' legal team hoped the granting of a British passport would force the UK to release him from Guantanamo Bay because Britain refuses to allow its citizens to be tried before US military commissions, saying they do not meet international standards of law.

    Hicks last year pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy at a commission hearing but it remains unknown when he will face trial.

    His father, Terry Hicks, spoke to his son by telephone on Christmas Eve.

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  • David Hicks Wins U.K. Citizenship
  • Govt should feel embarrassed over Hicks: lawyer
  • Father of Australian Guantanamo detainee welcomes British decision
  • Australia may not welcome British citizen Hicks back home
  • PM blames Hicks' lawyers for case delay
  • Aussie Taliban offered prostitutes for information: ex-chaplain
  • Hicks's jail time 'would not count toward sentence'
  • Hicks's jail time should count: Downer

    Australian sentenced to death in Vietnam
    An Australian man of Vietnamese origin has been sentenced to death for trafficking heroin in southern Vietnam, a court official says.

    A court official in the province of Tay Ninh says 53-year-old Trinh Huu was given the death sentence after being found guilty of trafficking around two kilograms of heroin.

    He was arrested last December close to the border with Cambodia along with three Vietnamese accomplices.

    The official says the accomplices have received jail terms ranging from 15 years to life.

    The Australian Government says an appeal must be lodged within 15 working days.

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    Is execution too easy?
    How much is a condemned killer's life worth?
    The vast majority of people would say not much.

    Then there are the polar opposites - those for and those against execution.

    Turn the other cheek or an eye for an eye.

    So was the case of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the so-called man of peace who was executed early Wednesday for the gunshot execution slayings of four people in two robberies in Los Angeles in 1979.

    The 51-year-old Williams, co-founder of the Crips gang, maintained his innocence until the very end, even though, as journalists covering the story wrote, acknowledging overwhelming evidence of guilt in the murders could have spared his life.

    While some promised him a funeral "befitting a statesman" others worried about rioting in the streets by supporters of a killer who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for writing a series of books encouraging youth to stay out of gang life.

    The riots never came and Williams lasted for some 15 minutes while the lethal injection procedure slowly sapped the life out of him.

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  • Why I go to executions
  • Stan 'Tookie' Williams Case Information

    Calif. executes Tookie Williams
    California - United States authorities on Tuesday executed Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a convicted killer who was at the centre of one of biggest anti-death penalty campaigns in the United States in decades, a spokesperson for San Quentin prison said.

    Williams, executed by lethal injection, was declared dead at 12:35, she added.

    Several thousand people gathered outside the prison, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean south of San Francisco, raising their voices in anger when Williams' execution was announced.

    "It's over, but it's not," said Reverend Jesse Jackson, one of several well known personalities who supported Williams in his quest to have his execution stayed.

    "He came in without any kind of resistance, was strapped down, showed no kind of resistance whatsoever," said Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez, who witnessed the execution along with nearly 40 other people, including supporters of Williams and the families of his victims.

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  • How 'Tookie' died
  • Stanley Tookie Williams Executed
  • Stanley Tookie Williams, Crips Gang Co-Founder, Is Executed
  • Images from the Williams Execution
  • Excerpts From an Interview With Stanley Tookie Williams
  • Schwarzenegger Denies Clemency for Williams
  • Calif. High Court Refuses Williams' Stay
  • Emergency Stay Sought for Tookie Williams
  • Stan 'Tookie' Williams Case Information

    Rostam Tajik Executed Dec 10 2005
    Rostam Tajik was publicly executed on 10 December in a park in the city of Esfahan, central Iran.

    He had reportedly been sentenced to qisas (retribution specified by the victim's family) by Branch 9 of the General Court of Esfahan for the May 2001 murder of a woman, carried out when he was 16 years old. The sentence had reportedly been upheld by the Supreme Court.

    On 9 December, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Philip Alston, called on the Iranian authorities not to proceed with the execution.

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  • Imminent Execution of Rostam Tajik

    Singapore says 13 foreigners arrested in drug bust

    Armed officers keep tight security in Singapores
    Singapore police said Thursday they had arrested 13 foreigners – including British, American, Japanese, Thai and Malaysian nationals – and a Singaporean for drug offences.

    Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement on its Web site that it had arrested a total of 14 people in a series of raids on Tuesday.

    It said the raids uncovered drugs, including cocaine and cannabis, with a total street value of over S$9,400 (US$5,575).

    Singapore has some of the world's toughest laws against drugs. Last week, a 25-year-old Australian drug trafficker was executed in Singapore, sparking protests in Australia against the death penalty.

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  • Briton charged with cocaine trafficking in Singapore
  • Expat junkies, dealer, get their fix then fall into net
  • British gems expert linked to wrong sort of ring

    Boy, 13, held at Moscow airport had drugs in tummy
    MOSCOW — A 13-year-old boy was arrested at a Moscow airport yesterday after stepping off a plane from Tajikistan with 840g of heroin hidden in his stomach, Russian customs officials said.

    "During a customs check, the presence of containers with drugs were identified in the young boy's stomach-intestinal tract," Russia's customs service said in a written statement.

    "The boy was immediately taken to a children's hospital where doctors extracted 840g of heroin from his body," the statement added. The boy was travelling with his mother, a citizen of Tajikistan, when they were detained at Domodedovo Airport near Moscow.

    The mother "admitted during questioning that she knew about the drugs" and "probably hoped customs officials could not possibly suspect a 13-year-old of such a serious and dangerous crime", the customs service said.

    Officials said a 30-year-old passenger was also arrested after landing at Domodedovo on a different flight from Tajikistan and that more than two kilogrammes of heroin were found hidden in containers in his stomach.

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    Qld man jailed in Indonesia for drug possession
    An Australian man working for the Theiss construction company in Indonesia has been sentenced to 10 months in jail for possession of the drug shabu shabu, a form of crystal methamphetamine.

    The 45-year-old Queenslander, John Michael Kelly, was arrested in September at Sangata on the island of Borneo.

    The court found Kelly guilty of possession of half a gram of shabu shabu.

    Police had told the court he was arrested at a hotel room, along with an Indonesian girlfriend, in possession of half a gram of the drug and equipment to smoke it.

    The judge ordered that three months already served in prison be taken into account, meaning he will serve another seven months.

    Kelly's Indonesian lawyer told the ABC that the sentence was considered light and that an appeal is unlikely.

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  • Australian on trial in Borneo over drugs
  • Qld man on drug charges in Borneo

    Australia buries executed Nguyen

    Nguyen's body was flown back to Melbourne for burial
    At least 1,000 mourners have attended the funeral in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral of a man executed in Singapore for drug-smuggling.

    Nguyen Tuong Van, an Australian of Vietnamese descent, was hanged last Friday for trafficking heroin despite strong appeals for clemency.

    The 25-year-old's body was flown back to Melbourne on Sunday.

    A plea for forgiveness written by Nguyen hours before his death was read out at the requiem Mass.

    Fr Peter Hansen made a strong condemnation of "retribution and vengeance" in his sermon to the congregation in the Roman Catholic cathedral.

    "And I say to these people if you build a world upon these so-called values of retribution and vengeance, then you will build a world in which some people will always seek to take drugs," he said.

    All Australians, he told Nguyen's mother Kim as she sobbed, supported her in the face of her pain.


    His final words

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  • Van's final words
  • Nguyen letters read at his funeral
  • Nguyen mourners slam death penalty
  • Sadness as Nguyen's body comes home
  • We're giving them enough rope to hang us
  • Singapore hangs Australian drug smuggler
  • The bell tolls for Nguyen
  • Family mourns Nguyen at Singapore service
  • Prayers, courage mark Nguyen's end
  • Hundreds light a candle for Nguyen
  • Nguyen lawyer blasts Singapore
  • Nguyen lawyer describes painful journey
  • Nguyen's mum denied one last hug goodbye
  • Hang democracy, let's trade
  • Death in the age of reason
  • Young Aussie confronts lonely death
  • Nguyen Tuong Van Case Page & Petition

    "Disappearance" of Muhammad Haydar Zammar
    Appeal Case Update – Syria/Germany/USA - Muhammad Haydar Zammar

    Amnesty International continues to be gravely concerned over the fate of Muhammad Haydar Zammar who has been effectively "disappeared" for four years The organisation is reiterating its calls for his whereabouts to be immediately disclosed. Muhammad Haydar Zammar has been detained in Syria since the end of 2001, to where he was deported from Morocco after one or two weeks’ detention. Unconfirmed reports suggest that he may have been held in Sednaya prison on the outskirts of Damascus, at some point, after being transferred from his solitary confinement cell in the Palestine Branch (Far’ Falastin) of Military Intelligence, Damascus, in October 2004.

    The United States’ security forces were reportedly involved in Muhammad Haydar Zammar’s arrest and interrogations in Morocco, where he was initially arrested, and in his secret transfer to Syria. After four years, it seems he has still not been charged with any offence but it is reported that his detention is related to his alleged links to al-Qa’ida.

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    Australian arrested in Iraq
    The brother of an Australian terrorist suspect detained in Lebanon has been arrested in Iraq by a Kurdish political organisation.

    Ahmad Jamal, 22, from Sydney, has been detained by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in northern Iraq, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said today.

    The department was notified of his detention by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    "Consular officials in Baghdad have spoken to PUK officials and continue to press for confirmation of his detention and its legal basis," a DFAT spokesman said.

    "Our efforts to date have been unsuccessful and we're following up with (Red Cross) officials to obtain further information. We're doing that through our consular official Amman in Jordan."

    It was not known when the man was detained, the spokesman said.

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    Echoes of Corby case in French prisoner's tale
    For five years she has been making daily visits to her son in Kerobokan jail, Bali, and Helene Le Touzey still cries as she tells the story of what happened to him.

    As she watched a distressed Schapelle Corby prepare for court this week, the 54-year-old French woman found herself weeping again, this time for Corby's future, which reminds her so much of her son's painful past.

    "There are so many similarities between the two," Ms Le Touzey said as she ran through the details of the case of her son, Michael Loic Blanc.

    He was 26 when he flew from India into Denpasar on Boxing Day 1999, and put his bag through the X-ray machine, as Corby did with her boogie-board bag. Corby is 27.

    When customs officers saw something suspicious, they took him to one room and the dive bag containing two scuba tanks to another, a breach of customs practice like that which Corby has complained about.

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    Aussie doctor on murder charge ill in Ugandan jail
    An Australian cardiologist charged in Uganda with his wife's murder has been taken to hospital after falling ill in jail.

    Aggrey Kiyingi suddenly became ill yesterday at Uganda's Luzira maximum security prison, where he is on remand over his alleged involvement in his wife's killing.

    Robinah Kiyingi, a well known lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, was shot dead on July 11 at the gate of her home by assailants who escaped on a motorcycle.

    Kiyingi was rushed under tight security to Mulago national hospital on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

    Uganda Prisons spokeswoman Mary Kaddu said the Australian was earlier admitted to the prison hospital suffering from malaria, high blood pressure and back ache.

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    Teacher held over $1.75m haul
    AN expatriate Australian teacher arrested in Mauritius was likely to be charged if authorities believed the drug claims against her could be substantiated, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.

    Mauritius police said Susan Dalziel, 52, would remain in jail indefinitely until authorities completed their investigation.

    She was arrested along with two Mauritians last Friday after customs officials allegedly found 3.5kg of heroin in a hidden compartment of her luggage when she arrived on a flight from Nairobi.

    The heroin, which was carefully packed in small sachets, has an estimated street value of $US1.3 million ($1.75 million), officials said.

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    USA: 1,000th execution looms as lottery of death reaches shameful milestone
    A prison guard takes a man out of a prison cell. The guard leads the man through a hallway to an execution chamber and in the presence of witnesses, the prisoner is poisoned to death.

    The witnesses go home, many of them traumatized for life. The prison authorities who directly participated in extinguishing a human life are similarly traumatized. The journalists write stories about the man that has just been put to death in front of them. Officials clear the room until the next time.

    In the USA, this scene is fairly routine. Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court, nearly 1,000 men and women have been killed by the state in the name of justice.

    As the 1,000th execution in the US approaches, Amnesty International, along with a broad spectrum of human rights organizations, social justice groups, and concerned individuals, is calling on US State and Federal authorities to put an immediate end to all executions.

    "The death penalty is by nature ineffective, arbitrary and does not deter crime. On the contrary, it creates more victims and demeans society as a whole", said Amnesty International.

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    Justice, Kuwaiti-style
    An Australian man on trial in Kuwait charged with insurgency, and who claims he has been tortured, will know this month if he will face the noose. Hall Greenland reports.

    The trial of Tallaal Adrey, reported to be yet another Australian facing the death penalty overseas, has now concluded in Kuwait City. The verdict is scheduled to be handed down on December 27.

    Adrey and his 20 co-accused, in what was billed as Kuwait’s biggest terrorist trial, were expected to face the executioner after the prosecution demanded "the maximum penalty". In Kuwait, that means death by hanging. Adrey’s Kuwaiti lawyer, however, told The Bulletin last weekend that he expects his client, if found guilty, will instead receive a jail sentence.

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  • Click here for the Tallaal Adrey Case File

    Georgia: Torture and ill-treatment two years after the "Rose Revolution"
    Amnesty International continues to receive reports about torture and ill-treatment in Georgia. Many cases still do not come to light because police cover up their crimes and detainees are often afraid to complain or identify the perpetrators for fear of repercussions. Amnesty International voiced its concerns as it launched its report, Georgia: Torture and ill-treatment -- still a concern after the "Rose Revolution", on the second anniversary of the events which brought a new government to power.

    "The government should keep the eradication of torture and ill-treatment on its agenda as a priority issue. While important steps have been taken, the government still has a long way to go. A long-term approach is needed to achieve lasting results," Anna Sunder-Plassmann, Amnesty International's researcher on Georgia said.

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    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: The case of Ahmed Abu Ali
    Paper delivered by Brian Evans, Amnesty International USA
    AI-Reprieve Conference: The Global Struggle Against Torture: Guantánamo Bay, Bagram and beyond, 19-21 November 2005

    I am going to speak about the case of Ahmed Abu Ali, a US citizen currently on trial in the United States on a variety of terrorism-related charges. This is an unusual case in the annals of the US outsourcing of torture in that it involves a US citizen detained and interrogated abroad (in this case in Saudi Arabia) and then brought back for trial in the US. [The case went to the jury on Friday, November 18, and a verdict could be issued at any time.] First, some background:

    Ahmed Abu Ali was born in Houston Texas, on March 19, 1981; he graduated as class valedictorian from the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia in 1999. He lived all his life in Texas and Virginia until going to study abroad at the Islamic University in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

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    Supporters flock to websites
    AMONG the increasing number of websites devoted to saving convicted drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, one relies on a succinct plea to readers: "Don't let this boy become an obituary."

    The online campaign for clemency is escalating as the execution, which the Singaporean Government has set for December 2, draws near.

    Australian Kay Danes, jailed with her husband in Laos in 2001 on theft charges, has gathered 940 signatures on an online petition to save Nguyen, while another has gathered 575.

    Mrs Danes now runs an advocacy site for Australian prisoners held overseas, and is helping Nguyen because "everyone deserves a second chance". She said the response to the campaign had been significant.

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    Kiwi behind Bangkok prison bars
    A New Zealander has been arrested in Thailand for allegedly attempting to smuggle heroin into Phuket on a yacht.

    According to the Taiwan newspaper the China Post, Kerry Graeme Mitchell, 49, was arrested with his Thai wife and two Hong Kong nationals near the port of Phuket on Friday.

    The China Post says Mitchell is being held in a Bangkok prison and faces a death sentence if convicted. Thai police believe the four bought the heroin in Myanmar and were planning to ship it via a private yacht to Hong Kong and Australia for sale.

    New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is aware of Mitchell's arrest, but says he has not requested any assistance from New Zealand.

    Thailand has some of the toughest drug laws in Asia and scores of foreigners face the death penalty for drugs convictions.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • NZ officials to visit NZer on heroin charge in Thailand
  • Thailand drug accused ex-Marlborough college pupil
  • Alleged NZ drug smuggler faces death penalty
  • NZ, HK citizens in Thai heroin bust

    Death in the age of reason
    The imminent hanging - barring an unexpected miracle of Singaporean clemency - of the young Australian Nguyen Tuong Van is a horrible and sad human tragedy. But it's more than that.

    It's the latest example of how capital punishment and lesser-but-excessive sentences for drug crimes in Asia are becoming a serious complication for Australia in its dealings with the region.

    The extreme and automatic penalty imposed on Nguyen (for trafficking heroin which he said was to pay for his twin brother's debts) is a jolting reminder of the appalling disregard for human rights by some of our neighbours who are also our friends.

    The Schapelle Corby case, fanned by often feral media, stirred up a lot of negative feeling in this country against Indonesia.

    While Corby is to serve an inordinately long sentence, it has been clear for some time that Nguyen, whose fate was receiving a lot less media attention, would almost certainly be executed. Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Governor-General Michael Jeffery each made strong representations, but to no effect.

    Mothers Plea

    click here

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Nguyen executioner revealed
  • Amnesty's death row campaign draws record response
  • Politicians support Nguyen
  • UN official criticises Govt over Nguyen case
  • Mum seeks Queen's help to save son on death row
  • Young Aussie confronts lonely death
  • Nguyen Tuong Van Case Page & Petition
  • F.P.S.S Appeal to DFAT

    Nurse in Italian jail
    AN Australian nurse has been arrested after allegedly trying to carry 3.2kg of heroin across the Swiss-Italian border.

    Carly Emma Morris, 26, of Port Elliot in South Australia, risks 20 years in jail for alleged drug-trafficking after appearing in an Italian court this week.

    She is pleading not guilty to the charges after Customs officials, alerted by sniffer dogs, inspected her luggage on a train from Switzerland to Como in northern Italy on Tuesday.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Prison, Torture and Murder in Jayapura
    Twelve Days in an Indonesian Jail
    A member of the NZZ editorial staff, Oswald Iten, was held in the municipal jail of Jayapura, Irian Jaya, from 2 to 13 December. The charge: illegal journalistic activity. Most of his fellow inmates were Papuans fighting for West Papua's independence from Indonesia. Iten witnessed the incredible brutality that marked the prisoners' everyday life.

    Oswald Iten - When the door to the cell slammed shut behind me, the first thing I noticed was the stench of urine and other human excreta. Then I saw, through the dim, humidly hot air, bodies lying on the filthy concrete floor, packed one next to the other like sardines. It was one o'clock in the morning. Someone in the lineup of bodies handed me a cardboard box, so that I'd at least have something clean to lay my head on.

    The police had taken me into custody the previous day and grilled me for nine hours, because on 1 December I had taken "political photos" ostensibly not permitted by my tourist visa. That was the day on which Papuans fighting for independence from Indonesia commemorated the day in 1961, while the Dutch were still the colonial masters, when a declaration of West Papuan independence was made which was acknowledged by no one else in the world. Since then, the flag with the morning star had been their symbol of freedom, and anyone raising that banner had had to reckon with the danger of being shot by occupying Indonesian troops. President Wahid, who took office last year, has issued a directive permitting limited use of the flag, but the Indonesian security forces, who have been operating with increasing autonomy, had declared that this year's 1 December would be the last day on which the morning star banner would be permitted to flutter unhindered beneath Papua's skies.

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    Online Campaign for Nguyen Khac Toan
    Amnesty International and the UK-based organisation have joined forces to launch a new online appeal for a Vietnamese man imprisoned for 12 years for using the internet.

    The campaign, part of Amnesty International’s new ‘Protect The Human’ initiative, involves internet users from all over the UK sending email appeals directly to the Vietnamese authorities calling for the 50-year-old prisoner of conscience to be immediately released.

    Nguyen Khac Toan, a mathematics teacher and businessman, was imprisoned in late 2002 after a trial lasting less than a day. His case is one of three "cyber dissidents" from Vietnam that Amnesty International is currently highlighting. Each of the three were imprisoned - after separate trials in 2002 and 2003 - for posting articles online about democracy, human rights and peaceful protects in Vietnam, or sending such information out of Vietnam

    Australia is a staunch opponent of the death penalty but Singapore, known for its tough stand against crime, mandates the death penalty for murder and drug trafficking.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Click Here to Help Nguyen

    Leslie 'relieved to be out'
    Convicted drug user Michelle Leslie has spoken publicly after her release from a Bali jail yesterday. The South Australian model is expected to arrive back in Australia today.

    On Friday Leslie was given a three-month jail sentence for ecstasy use but the court took into account the time she had already served in prison.

    She was deported from Indonesia yesterday and travelled to Singapore for a reunion with her family.

    She has expressed relief to be out of jail.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Leslie expected to fly into Sydney
  • All eyes on model's return
  • Leslie won't be punished by her peers, nor will she profit
  • Guilty Leslie prepares for return home
  • Leslie plans swift Indonesia exit
  • Australian Model to be Freed From Bali Jail
  • Main charge against Australian model dropped in Bali
  • Michelle will be freed soon and then deported home
  • Police check model's link to minister
  • Leslie could be freed soon after apology
  • Michelle Leslie Case Information

    3 South African women held in Brazil
    Sao Paulo, Brazil - Police have arrested three South African women accused of trying to leave Brazil with nearly 30kg of cocaine stashed in their suitcases, authorities said on Monday. Stela Khumalo, Patricia Motsoeneng and Roberta Putteing were taken into custody on Saturday night at Sao Paulo's international airport as they were preparing to board a flight to Johannesburg, the federal police said in a statement.

    An X-ray machine detected 3.9kg of the drug in Khumalo's hand luggage and when police realised she was travelling with Motsoeneng and Putteing they opened their suitcases too and found an additional 25.8kg, the statement said.

    The three women face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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    Fewer Inmates on Death Row in US
    Sentencing Options May Be a Factor as Executions Decline The ranks of people sentenced to death and the number executed declined in 2004 as the nation's death row population kept shrinking, the government reported yesterday.

    Last year, a dozen states executed 59 prisoners, six fewer than in 2003, according to the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    The report also said 125 people, including five women, who were convicted of murder received a death sentence last year. That was the smallest number since 1973.

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    Secret detentions in the "war on terror"
    Imagine that one minute you are eating dinner with your family and the next you are hooded, handcuffed, and dragged away. Your family is not told where you were taken. After your initial interrogation, you are taken to a plane: it takes off, but no one tells you where it’s going and when it lands you don’t even know what country you’re in.

    You are put in a cell, completely isolated, with no windows and only a bucket for a toilet. Artificial lights are on all the time and a constant low-level hum comes out of the loudspeakers. You cannot sleep and feel very anxious. The guards, dressed completely in black, communicate only with hand gestures. Interrogators insult you about the things most sacred to you and make you stand motionless for long periods of time. You feel like you are going mad and just want this to stop. And to make matters worse, you still haven’t been told why you are there, nor are you allowed to speak to a lawyer or your family. No one knows where you are.

    You may have to imagine such a situation, but someone like Muhammad al-Assad has actually lived through similar experiences.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Secret Detention in CIA "Black Sites"
  • Detention by proxy: arrests in Indonesia, Jordan and Tanzania
  • Transferred to US custody
  • "Black site" detention
  • Torture, ill-treatment and "disappearance": violations of international law
  • Arbitrary detention in Yemen under US direction
  • Recomendations

    Refugee story torpedoed by PM's taskforce
    The Federal Government has admitted its blunt assertion that 14 Kurdish boat people had not sought asylum was wrong and should never have been made.

    In an embarrassing backdown, the people-smuggling taskforce that masterminded the Government's response to the arrival of the Kurdish boat off Melville Island said the men had, in fact, sought sanctuary in Australia.

    The taskforce's report into the arrival of the vessel, Minasa Bone, torpedoes the claims by the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, and Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, that the 14 men had not claimed asylum.

    It says the "unauthorised arrivals" had repeatedly stated their desire to land and live in Australia. This included statements that "we are from Turkey, don't want to go back, no good. We want to go to Australia."

    One man had brandished an English-Turkish dictionary and pointed to the word "refugee". Others had claimed to be Kurdish refugees and that they wanted to go to Australia because Turkey was "no good".

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    Brazil's juvenile prisons fail young people
    A guard from the adult prison service locks the door on the punishment cell in the Vila Maria juvenile detention centre, São Paulo, Brazil, 2005 © Promotoria de Justiça da Infância e da Juventude de São Paulo – Setor de Execuções

    Torture, ill-treatment and collective punishment are part of daily life for the 6,000 detainees of São Paulo’s juvenile detention centre, the State Foundation for the Well Being of Minors (FEBEM).

    In September 2005 the mother of M., an adolescent in the Vila Maria unit of FEBEM, reported that her son had been so severely beaten by wardens that he was urinating blood. Another imprisoned juvenile, D., showed his mother bruising and signs of torture. He told her that the FEBEM director had personally ordered that his food be withheld. He was kept for four days in solitary confinement, after being dragged out of class by a guard who shot five times into the ceiling to intimidate him.

    The FEBEM states its objective is to rehabilitate young offenders through education to enable them to reintegrate into society. Yet detainees receive little, if any, educational support. Detention conditions are frequently inhuman and riots and violence between detainees are rife.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Nepal: Fear of torture/fear of "disappearance"
    Krishna Gopal Ghimire (m), age 50, farmer

    Krishna Gopal Ghimire was arrested at his home in Municipality Ward No 4, Sunsari District, by a group of six armed men in plain clothes believed to be security forces personnel, at about 11pm on 28 October. He is believed to be detained at the Regional Headquarters of the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) in Itahari. The army have denied all knowledge of his arrest, and there are fears that he may be tortured or "disappear". Krishna Gopal Ghimire and his family were apparently at home asleep when the men, armed with pistols, came into the house and began to search it. They reportedly then arrested Krishna Gopal Ghimire and told his wife and family that he would be released the following morning.

    He did not return home next day, and his family went to make inquiries at the Area Police Office and the RNA's Regional Headquarters in Itahari, Sunsari District. Both the police and army officers they spoke to denied any knowledge about the arrest of Krishna Gopal Ghimire.

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    Faith, hope and Kerobokan
    After 12 months of broken promises and shattered dreams, Schapelle Corby reveals why she still believes in miracles. Paul Toohey reports.

    Paul, in his epistles to the Romans, set down some of the Bible’s most powerful and lasting exhortations. Schapelle Corby’s favourite is Chapter XII, Verse 2. She recites: "Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." What does it mean? "It means you can be born again," says Corby. "That’s how I read it."

    Romans XII is a short chapter made up of 21 sentence-long verses. It is not surprising that Corby has honed in on this part of the Bible during her ordeal, which last week passed the 12-month marker. It is the home of the familiar "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord" line. It is also a call for brotherly love, and argues that judgment is not a right of humans. Those who would judge bring ruin and condemnation upon themselves.

    So what about those judges who sentenced her to 20 years in prison? Romans XII has an answer for that: "Bless those who ­persecute you."

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Downer torpedoed Corby jail deal: Hotman
  • Convicted Australian drug smuggler to file appeal
  • Indonesian court cuts Corby jail term by five years: lawyer
  • Schapelle Corby's jail term cut
  • Corby to fight drug sentence
  • Corby lawyer plans new appeal

    More Than 1,100 Imprisoned in Burma
    The United Nations reports the government of Burma continues to imprison more than 1,100 (eleven hundred) political prisoners, including Nobel peace laureate and pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

    A report delivered by a UN human rights envoy to the General Assembly documented forced labor, sexual violence, extortion and expropriation committed by troops in the ruling military junta. Meanwhile, outside the United Nations several Burmese pro-democracy activists have entered the thirteen day of a hunger strike.

    This is Burmese refugee, Han Lin: "It is time that the United Nations to take effective action against the Burmese brutal military regime.

    It is time. We Burmese people cannot be suffering anymore because the real situation in Burma gets worse."

  • Click Here for archive of Story

    Federal police knew all about Bali nine
    Nine days before nine young Australians were arrested in a heroin smuggling sting in Bali, Australian police knew almost everything: who they were, where they would stay, when they would try to leave, even how they would strap the drugs to their bodies.

    It was a crime not yet committed but with terrible consequences if it was discovered in Indonesia: the death penalty.

    Yet on April 8, the Australian Federal Police wrote to their Indonesian counterparts outlining in extraordinary detail what would take place. They named the alleged ringleader, Andrew Chan. And they told the Indonesians: "If you suspect Chan and/or the couriers are carrying drugs at the time of their departure, please take whatever action you deem necessary."

    The Indonesians did. On April 17, Chan and four others were arrested at Denpasar Airport.

    Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj, Renae Lawrence and Martin Stephens had heroin strapped to their bodies. Another four, Myuran Sukumaran, Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen, Si Yi Chen and Matthew Norman, were arrested soon after at a Bali hotel. All nine are now on trial.

    Rather than waiting to grab the suspects in Sydney, Australian officers did not try to stop Indonesian police from arresting the group, the letters suggest. Rush and Lawrence accuse the AFP of exposing them to the death penalty and have taken legal action against them in Darwin.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • No Bali Nine apologies: AFP
  • AFP under scrutiny for handling of Bali Nine
  • Last of the Bali Nine begins trial
  • Bali nine sweat it out as their fates are decided
  • Contrasts as Bali 9 face fate
  • Drug trials open for 'Bali 9'
  • Adjournments, delays mar Bali 9 trials
  • Bali 9 on trial
  • Trials adjourned for Bali nine pair
  • Bali 9 documents lay out alleged conspiracy
  • Bali 9 files
  • Father alerted police about Bali Nine
  • Bali nine families fight back

    FPSS Member appeals to Indonesian President on behalf of Bali Nine
    Attention: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Istana Merdeka, Jakarta 10110, Indonesia

    Your excellency

      I write to you as an Australian citizen residing in New Zealand and also as a concerned member of Amnesty International Urgent Action Group – which is an impartial organisation working on behalf of prisoners of conscience, against the death penalty, torture, political killings and disappearances.

  • Click Here to read complete letter to President
  • What are we doing to our children?

    Syria: Women held in underground cells
    Heba al-Khaled, aged 17, and her sister Rola al-Khaled, 20, both of whom are pregnant, along with Nadia al-Satour and her young baby, are being held by the Syrian authorities in tiny underground cells in the Military Intelligence Palestine Branch, in Damascus.

    The cells, known as “tombs”, are infested with cockroaches and other insects as well as rats, which sometimes bite prisoners. The three young women are being held incommunicado in solitary confinement in order to put pressure on their husbands, alleged members of the Islamic armed group Jund al-Sham.

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    Hmong - Apocalypse Now
    TRIBESMAN (Translation): Today the Lao government is trying to use starvation as a weapon to kill us. They are also using chemicals to kill us.

    This extraordinary video testimony was shot by Hmong tribespeople in the remote mountains of northern Laos. Smuggled out at great risk, it is the first time it's been seen on television anywhere. It reveals the desperate plight of the Hmong who are hiding in jungle sanctuaries, totally cut off from the outside world. For over 30 years they have been trying to survive as hunter gatherers while the Lao Government hunt them like wild game.

    TRIBESMAN (Translation): They have been hunting us and killing us for 30 years, today there are 20,000 of us in the jungle. The Hmong had fought on the American side in their war against the communists in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. When the Americans withdrew in 1973 they left their allies, the Hmong, behind. But the people they were fighting against, the communist Pathet Lao, became the Government in Laos and have relentlessly pursued the Hmong ever since. Driven by starvation and constant attacks from the Lao military, tribal leaders have now taken a momentous decision. They are sending out an advance party of women and children to surrender and try to save their lives.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Viewer Feedback from SBS Dateline Program
  • Hmong - Forced Surender
  • Laos : The murderous repression against the Lao-Hmongs goes on !
  • FPSS Advocate appointed as an Executive Officer to the Hmong Advocacy International Service [HAIS].
  • "BANDITS OR REBELS? Hmong Resistance in the New Lao State"
  • 43 Hmong families in the jungles in Bolikhamxay Province Surrender
  • Opinion on Recent Allegations of Atrocities Committed by the Lao PDR Against its Hmong Citizens.

    United Kingdom: to use "torture evidence" in courts is to accept the unacceptable
    Torture is never acceptable and evidence extracted under torture should never be admissible in UK courts, except in proceedings against the alleged torturer, said Amnesty International today (17 October) as the UK Law Lords began their considerations on the issue.

    Lawyers representing Amnesty International and 13 organizations will be in court from today asking the Law Lords to overturn a 2004 judgment by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales permitting the admissibility of torture evidence from abroad in domestic proceedings.

    "The UK must not accept the unacceptable. Torture is abhorrent and can never be condoned under any circumstances. It is banned under international law and with good reason – there is no place for torture anywhere in the world," Amnesty International said.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Law lords consider 'torture' appeal

    Our statement against torture and ill-treatment and our demands

    • Close Guantánamo Bay: shut down the detention camp, charge the detainees under US law in US courts or release them.

    Set up on a US naval base on the island of Cuba, Guantánamo Bay was designed as an attempt to put detainees beyond the reach of the rule of law – any law whether US or international. The US Supreme Court ruled that challenges to detention could be brought in the US courts, but not a single case of a Guantánamo detainee has been reviewed by a US court - the US government continues, so far successfully, to block any such reviews. The detention camp at Guantánamo Bay has become the site and symbol of failure to respect human rights in the “war on terror”, and the call for its closure a rallying cry for those demanding respect for human rights and the rule of law.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Law lords consider 'torture' appeal
  • Update on Guantánamo: Hunger strike ends but Amnesty remains concerned about welfare of detainees
  • US: Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strike New Call on UK Government to act to save lives
  • US: Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strike New Call on UK Government to act to save lives
  • USA: Guantánamo hunger strikers critically ill
  • Click Here for Guantanamo Bay information page.

    Australian 'drug lords' hide in South America
    SOUTH America has become the focus of the hunt for one of two Sydney cocaine kingpins believed to have fled the country. Investigators believe Les Mara - one of the principals of a plot to smuggle in 20kg of cocaine through Sydney airport early this year - is hiding in Rio de Janeiro.

    Mara, 52, and Michael Hurley, 58, are understood to have fled after being tipped off to operation Mocha, a week before the May raids which resulted in 11 arrests.

    Both allegedly were kingpins in the conspiracy to smuggle the cocaine from Buenos Aires with the assistance of corrupt baggage handlers at Sydney airport.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    A model's fear
    MODEL Michelle Leslie emerged from underneath her now-familiar headscarf as she was led in for questioning by Indonesian prosecutors yesterday.

    The 24-year-old, arrested at a dance party in August for alleged ecstasy possession, was later transferred from a police cell to Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail.

    Her prison transfer is a step towards prosecution.

    She faces a 10-year sentence if convicted.

    Leslie wears a hijab, having converted to Islam a year before her arrest.

    This led to claims she was trying to win sympathy from Bali's mostly Muslim judges.

    But yesterday Leslie left her face visible until she climbed into the police van, when she pulled the white scarf across her face.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Model tells of Bali prison torment

    Syria: Incommunicado detention/fear of torture: Mustafa Omar Abdi Malik (m)
    Appeal Case – Syria - URGENT ACTION

    SYRIA Mustafa Omar Abdi Malik (m), aged 19, medical student, Somali national

    Student Mustafa Omar Abdi Malik was reportedly arrested at his home in Harasta Taht, a suburb of the capital, Damascus, on 6 September. Around 10 officers from the Syrian Political Security Branch arrested him and confiscated his computer. He has not been heard from since, and he is in grave danger of torture and other ill-treatment.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Syrian Human Rights Defender receives 2005 Martin Ennals Award
  • Further Info on UA 203/05

    Bali bombers moved to island 'Alcatraz'
    INDONESIA has moved the three ringleaders of the 2002 Bali bombings on death-row because of security concerns at their prison in Denpasar.

    The men were transferred in three armoured cars and guarded by about 30 heavily armed police.

    Their move to a higher security jail came on the eve of the third anniversary of the October 12, 2002 bombings in which 202 people died, including 88 Australians.

    So-called smiling assassin Amrozi bin Nurhasyin, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas – all awaiting execution – were moved this afternoon from Bali's Kerobokan Prison to Batu Prison on Nusakambangan, an island off the south Java coast, Bali justice ministry spokesman IG Rata said.

    The high-security jail is home to former Indonesian dictator Suharto's son, Tommy, who is serving a 15-year sentence for masterminding the murder of a supreme court judge.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Bali protesters storm jail where bombers held

    A Call To End A Secret, Arbitrary And Cruel Practice – Death Penalty In Japan
    A little known fact about Japan is that it carries out the death penalty. Executions in Japan are by hanging and are carried out in secret. Prisoners face the fear of execution every day. They are only informed of their execution a few hours before the sentence is carried out. Prisoners are held in solitary confinement and have very limited access to the outside world, as a result many inmates develop mental disorders. Families of prisoners are informed of their loved ones’ execution only after it has taken place.

    AI has received reports that at least eight of the 61 current death row inmates in Japan may be innocent. Forced confessions extracted through torture during pre-trial detention, prosecutorial misconduct and cases of mistaken evidence and identification mean that death-row inmates can be wrongly convicted.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Man extradited to Singapore on murder charges
    A British man wanted in relation to the murder of two people in Singapore in 2002 was extradited late yesterday from Australia to Singapore, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, announced today.

    Michael McCrea is wanted by the Singapore Government to face prosecution on two counts of murder and one count of criminal intimidation.

    Senator Ellison decided that, under the Extradition Act, Mr McCrea should be surrendered to Singapore. Senator Ellison said that Australia’s extradition legislation does not allow a person to be extradited for an offence which attracts the death penalty unless the requesting country gives an undertaking that the death penalty will not be carried out.

    "As Singapore’s law applies the death penalty for the offence of murder, Singapore gave an undertaking to the Australian Government that the death penalty will not be carried out if Mr McCrea is convicted of the offences of murder," Senator Ellison said.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    US Immigration Attorney Curtis Sok, saves life of former Lao freedom fighter
    Moua is one of the many Hmong former Special Guerrilla Unit [SGU] members who fought for democracy in the "Laos Secret War" up until the communists seized control of the landlocked country in around 1975.

    Many thousands of ethnic Laotians have been forced, over the years, to flee the persecution from the present day communist regime, including Moua, who recently applied for asylum in the United States of America.

    US Immigration Attorney, Mr. Curtis B. Sok from Fresno, California, took up his case after hearing that Moua and his wife were facing deportation.

    "He already served two terms in the labour camps in Laos because he was labelled as SGU or American collaborator" said Mr. Curtis. "He is now facing deportation back to Laos and I am trying to save him."

    On 7 September 2005, Mr. Curtis Sok wrote to FPSS Advocate Kay Danes, a former political prisoner of Laos released 9 November 2001 and asked if she would support Moua"s application for asylum. Kay Danes submitted her affidavit of the atrocities she herself endured and witnessed in the communist prison [Phonthong].

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Sudan: Leading Sudanese human rights group targeted by Government
    Amnesty International has learnt today that the Sudanese Government has launched legal proceedings against one of the country's leading human rights groups Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) in apparent attempt to silence the organisation.

    According to local press reports, Sudan's Bureau of Crimes Against the State began proceedings against SOAT for spreading false information at the end of August but did not inform the organisation. If found guilty, members of the organisation could face more than 5 years in prison.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Jails Fuel China's Secret Economy; Size of Chinese System of Slave Labour Placed at 20 Million Prisoners
    BEIJING, October 5, (Toronto) Globe and Mail [from The Economist] -- With commendable patience China awaits 2004. The talk in Beijing is that its next bid for the Olympic Games must surely be successful. Losing the 2000 Games to Sydney was indeed painful, but for a country that often reminds the rest of the world that Chinese civilization has been continuous for more than 3,000 years, the 10 years to the next Games can easily be endured.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Corby's sister tells of Bali horror
    Australian Mercedes Corby said she had seen Australians with shrapnel wounds, broken bones, horrific burns and eye wounds after the latest Bali bombings.

    Mercedes Corby is the sister of Australian Schapelle Corby who is serving 20 years in a Bali jail after being convicted of drug trafficking.

    Ms Corby spent all night helping people injured at Kuta, near the Bali capital of Denpasar, after at least one bomb went off. Two simultaneous bombs struck restaurants along Jimbaran beach in Bali.

    Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said at least 25 people appeared to have been killed, including possibly three Australians, in the blasts at Kuta and Jimbaran village, but media reports indicate the figure could be higher.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Corby's judges to try Bali Nine case
    THE alleged ringleaders of the Bali Nine, all of whom face the death penalty on narcotics and conspiracy charges, will be tried by members of the same three-man bench that sent Schapelle Corby to jail for 20 years for drug-running.

    Andrew Chan, the group's alleged organiser, will appear before a panel that includes one of Bali District Court's most senior judges and a member of the Corby judiciary, I Wayan Suastrawan.

    Mr Chan's alleged lieutenant, Myuran Sukumaran, will be tried by a bench headed by senior judge Gusti Lanang Dauh, who also sat in judgment of the Gold Coast beautician.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Death penalty concern for Bali 9
  • Prosecutors seek death for Bali Nine
  • Prosecutors split over Bali Nine's fate

    Local man prepares for drug trial
    Bali Nine man Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen, of Wellington Point, is expected to face trial for alleged heroin trafficking within a fortnight. The 22-year-old was detained in Indonesia more than five months ago with eight other young adults for allegedly attempting to export the narcotic into Australia.

    The arrests were the result of a trans-national crime investigation conducted by the Australian Federal Police and the Indonesian National Police.

    However, contrary to media reports that all nine have been charged and face the death penalty, a government source said until charges were confirmed at the first hearing "it is not certain which, if any, of the accused will face the death penalty".

    Talk of the death penalty disturbed some acquaintances of Tach's family.
    One woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tach was a "very quiet ... good boy" who enjoyed tinkering with his modified car.
    Another source said while she couldn't "understand people taking that risk ... you have to feel for the families and everyone else involved". She criticised the AFP for failing to arrest the syndicate in this country, making it easier for their families to provide support.

    Her comments were echoed by vocal human rights advocate Kay Danes, of Wellington Point, who recently spoke to and offered assistance to Tach's parents.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Prosecutors seek death for Bali Nine

    Adelaide drug accused faces 20 years
    An Adelaide man accused of drug possession in Indonesia is facing 20 years in jail, police say.

    Former schoolteacher Graham Clifford Payne, 20, was arrested in the north Sumatra city of Medan in August.

    Police allegedly found a pouch full of methamphetamines, known locally as shabu shabu, in his pocket.

    A subsequent search of his home allegedly uncovered a heroin-filled syringe and more than 2,000 tablets containing 11 different kinds of prescription drugs.

    Detectives had originally planned to recommend only a 10-year jail term.

    But the head of the drug squad in Medan, Captain Irwan Anwar, said evidence files to be handed to prosecutors on Wednesday recommended joint psychotropic and narcotics charges carrying a total of 20 years in prison.

    "It will be accumulated," he told AAP. "It's a maximum penalty of 20 years."

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Hicks dodging justice: Downer
    Australian terror suspect David Hicks will be dodging justice if he gets out of Guantanamo Bay via British citizenship, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.

    Hicks, 30, has been in detention for nearly four years but hopes that British citizenship - through his British mother, could clear a path to freedom.

    During a recent chat about the Ashes cricket series with his US military-appointed lawyer Major Michael Mori, Hicks revealed his mother was British and had never taken out Australian citizenship.

    Maj Mori then took an application for citizenship for Hicks to the British embassy in Washington.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Another Aussie faces jail over drugs
    A QUEENSLAND man is the latest Australian to be jailed in Indonesia on drug charges after he was arrested in possession of methamphetamines.

    Police in Sangatta, East Kalimantan, yesterday confirmed John Michael Kelly, 45, was arrested with of 0.5g of "shabu-shabu" (methamphetamine) which he allegedly bought for about $140.

    Mr Kelly faces drug laws that carry a maximum five-year jail term for owning, keeping or smuggling drugs.

    Captain Anjas Gautama Putra said Mr Kelly and an Indonesian prostitute, 24, were caught allegedly in possession of about 0.5g of the drug, along with paraphernalia such as a waterpipe (bong), a cigarette lighter and a candle.

    Mr Kelly, from Warwick, was arrested late on Saturday night at a hotel in Sangatta where police allege he and the woman were using the drug.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Brisbane man faces Indonesian drug charges

    Prison Fellowship Nepal opens thirteenth Prison Library
    The FPSS has today received a report from the Prison Fellowship in Nepal regarding their good work in opening a library project in Chautara Jail, and area mostly effected by Maoists.

    This is the thirteenth Prison Library which has now been established. Their report continues below ...

    We have to be competed two prison libraries according to our previous plan. This project we have decided with the recommendation of Prison Management Department of His Majesty Government of Nepal in the year 2004. We have selected fifteen prison to establish library on the based of need , number of prison population and remote areas.

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    Deported to where?! Incommunicado detention and torture of forcibly returned Syrians
    This Appeal Case raises Amnesty International's continuing concerns about a number of Syrian nationals being detained without charge or trial after being deported to Syria. Of the five men described here, detained for between four and 22 months, three have been denied access to visits from their families or a lawyer, and at least three of them have reportedly been tortured. Amnesty International does not know where two of them are being held and has grave fears for the safety of all five men.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    Asylum-seekers in Australia remain in long-term limbo
    Ahmed was not quite 11 years old when his family arrived in Australia seeking asylum. Placed in immigration detention, his mental health deteriorated alarmingly. Ahmed tried to hang himself twice in seven months and committed many acts of self-harm. After three long years Ahmed and his family were finally recognized as refugees and released.

    This is just one of the stories contained in AI's June 2005 report, The impact of indefinite detention: The case to change Australia's mandatory detention regime (ASA 12/001/2005). There are hundreds more stories which could be told of lives blighted, sometimes irredeemably, by Australia's mandatory detention regime.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Yemenis held in secret US detention centres
  • 'Disappeared' for 10 years

    Inside Guantánamo Bay
    Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith talks to AI about his experiences inside the notorious US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba

    I went to Guantánamo for the first time in November [2004] and I’ve been back four times now. You’re never quite sure whether to laugh or cry when you’re there. The soldiers go around saluting each other saying, "Honour bound, sir," and the other says, "To defend freedom".

    I think if you’d been asking two years ago, would we be closing Guantánamo, it wouldn’t have been on the radar screen. Now Guantánamo is in its death throes, but of course, it’s always been a distraction from the real issues. And the real issues are if you’ve got 520 people in Guantánamo, there are probably another 12,000 folk who are being held in US detention centres around the world and being abused there. The bigger problem is, what’s the substitute? Unfortunately, I think, the US has plans to take a lot of prisoners away from Guantánamo to Bagram airforce base and beyond. We have to start thinking beyond Guantánamo Bay to all the other detention centres and American proxy prisons around the world.

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    Thailand repatriates 19 Nigerian inmates
    BANGKOK - Nineteen Nigerian prisoners on Friday left Thailand for home to serve their remaining imprisonment terms, a local newspaper reported Saturday.

    The 19 was the last batch of 56 Nigerian inmates to be repatriated this year under an agreement between Thailand and Nigeria that took effect in November 2002.

    All 19 were convicted on drug-related offenses. Ten of them are serving life sentences and they were repatriated after serving eight years of their sentences in Thailand already, while the other nine are qualified for repatriation after serving at least four years here.

    The repatriation program went smooth thanks to the "good cooperation" from the Nigerian government and more Nigerian inmates would go home in the future, newspaper Nation on Saturday quoted Corrections Department Director-General Natthee Jitsawang as saying.

    So far, there are still 98 Nigerians serving terms in Thai prisons, most of whom were jailed for drug-related convictions. Many of them are qualified for repatriation but they have to wait until they or their families can afford their travel expenses.

  • Click Here for Archive of Story

    Aussie held in Italy over drugs
    AN Australian man who allegedly posed as a policeman to smuggle 10kg of pure cocaine through Italy faces up to 20 years in jail.

    The man, 30, variously described as a Queenslander and Sydneysider, was named by Italian authorities yesterday as Fuc Iang Lay. Mr Lay is in jail awaiting trial after being arrested by Italian police at Rome airport on August 15 and charged with drug trafficking.

    "Reports of him being a policeman are incorrect," an Australian embassy official in Rome said yesterday.

    "He may well have been pretending to be a policeman.

    "He has an Australian passport. Consular officers are providing assistance to the man and his family in Australia."

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Aussie held in $8m cocaine bust

    Fear of torture/ incommunicado detention/ prisoners of conscience New concern: Legal concern
    Yassin al-Hamwi (m), aged about 60, shopkeeper, founding member of the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah (m), law student, founding member of the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience

    On 16 August, prisoners of conscience Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah were released on bail, pending their trial before a military court in Damascus on 6 September. The two men are said to be in good health and have thanked Amnesty International for its continuing efforts on their case.

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    Kay locks down to help refugees
    LAO refugees call her "Nang", Sister Kay, a term of reverence for someone toiling to "open the ear of the world" to their suffering.

    Wellington Point woman Kay Danes is doing her utmost to "make a difference" not only for those fleeing the communist regime, but, closer to home, by supporting the families of some of the Bali Nine and Schapelle Corby.

    As a family advocate for the Foreign Prisoner Support Service Kay has also, unsuccessfully, attempted to contact the family of Wellington Point man Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen, one of nine Australians arrested in Bali for allegedly trafficking heroin.

    The invaluable support she and husband Kerry received from fellow Aussies and the Australian Government when snatched and wrongfully detained in Laos convinced Kay of her need to work as a humanitarian.

    While nearly four years has passed since the Daneses were released thanks to Federal Government intervention, brutal prison treatment is forever etched on Kay's mind.

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    Aussie reprieved from Vietnam death sentence
    The wife of an Australian heroin trafficker who has had his death penalty in Vietnam commuted to life in prison says she is relieved but sad that he may never see their children again.

    The Vietnamese President yesterday commuted Tran Van Thanh's death sentence for trafficking heroin from Vietnam to Australia as part of a seven-member gang commuted to life imprisonment.

    His wife, Do Lan Tran, who lives in Cabramatta with the couple's two young sons, said her sister-in-law had visited him in prison in Ho Chi Minh City on August 5.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Aussie reprieved from Vietnam death sentence
  • Australian's sentence commuted

    Randy Sachs is a fallen angel.

    Heralded as a hero, he's since landed hard -- and far -- from the Canadian idol he once was.

    In 2001, he saved a stranger from a burning car. Today, he struggles to salvage his own life in a Vietnamese prison -- apparently peeing blood and counting teeth as they rot off the jaw. From behind walls of a prison in southern Vietnam, the Hamilton man is offering a rare glimpse of harsh and allegedly inhumane foreign jails that he now calls home.

    As he does this, Randy Sachs is also providing proof of the complexities of the human heart. The duality of one man.

    On Christmas Eve, just four years ago, the then 24-year-old bar manager was driving to his mom's Beaverton home. On the way, he noticed a car crashed into a ditch.

    The vehicle, with 22-year-old student Shawn Rozko unconscious at the wheel, had rammed a stop sign, flown off the road and landed in icy waters of the shallow ravine. With the doors locked and Rozko blacked out, Sachs ran back to his family car, grabbed a hammer and shattered the window. Before the Chevy burst into flames, he dragged the bigger man out, put him over his shoulder and ran to safety. Rozko woke, suffering from smoke inhalation, in an ambulance.

    Arrested 5 months later

    "All I can do is hug him and thank him for saving my life and tell him he's my guardian angel," Rozko told the Sunday Sun in a 2002 article, entitled "Angels Among Us."

    No trial date was set.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Randy Sachs Case Information

    Aussies face trial on HK heroin charges

    Three young Australians have been ordered to stand trial on heroin smuggling charges in Hong Kong.

    Hutchinson Tran 21, unemployed, Rachel Ann Diaz, 17, a hair stylist, and Chris Ha Vo, 15, a fast food worker - all from Sydney - entered not guilty pleas in the Eastern Magistrates Court.

    Their committal hearing ended within five minutes when a magistrate ruled that they had a case to answer.

    The trio are being held in custody and did not apply for bail.
    No trial date was set.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

    The unfairness of the Thailand – England Prisoner Transfer Treaty

    I, Steve Willcox, British Citizen was arrested in Thailand on April 21st 2003 for 25 grams of category 1 drug found in the house I was living. You may consider this to be a small quantity of drugs for personal use but in Thailand even a small quantity of drugs for personal use may well be considered as distribution by Thailand’s Law and have severe consequences. Being arrested and sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment in Thailand is a terrifying experience, human rights violations in Thailand’s judicial system as well as cruel and inhuman degrading treatment, horrifying conditions in prisons. Thailand hands out some of the most severe penalties for drug offences in the world. i.e. death penalty, life sentence, 50 year sentence and in my case 33 years 6 month and a fine of £ 11.000. A comparable sentence for my crime in England would probably require me to serve a term of imprisonment of less than 1 year.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Stephen Wilcox Case Page
    Unjust trial of opposition parliamentarian leads to conviction, 7 years

    On Tuesday morning August 9, Military Court Judge General Nay Thol sentenced opposition Law maker Cheam Channy to 7 years imprisonment on charges of organizing illegal armed forces and committing fraud, despite lack of credible testimony or evidence to back up charges.

    The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (known by its French acronym LICADHO), condemned the August 8 trial of Cheam Channy, a parliamentarian for the Sam Rainsy Party, which should not have been held in the Military Court. The Military Court does not have jurisdiction over civilians such as Cheam Channy. LICADHO is also deeply concerned by the grossly unfair treatment of Cheam Channy during the course of the trial.

    Judge Ney Thol, who is the President of the Military Court, seriously obstructed the ability of Cheam Channy's defense lawyers to defend their client. The Judge limited the defense lawyers' questioning of Cheam Channy during the trial, and did not permit the lawyers to call their own witnesses to testify. In addition, the judge did not allow the defense lawyers to cross-examine all of the prosecution witnesses. Defense lawyers were initially permitted to cross-examine the first prosecution witness. After this witness made statements during the cross-examination that raised doubts about his credibility, the judge stopped the defense lawyers from questioning him further and did not permit the defense to question any other prosecution witnesses.

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    Laos makes strides in emerging from isolation

    HANOI, July 22 (AFP) - Emerging from a long period of isolation, Laos is getting ready to host its second major international meeting within a space of eight months and carving out a spot on the global diplomatic circuit.

    The land-locked country of 5.3 million people, which has been under rigid communist rule since 1975, last November had the luxury of hosting 15 heads of government, including those of regional giants, China, Japan and India.

    Next week, the poorest of Southeast Asian states will again roll out the red carpet, this time for more than 20 foreign ministers.

    In addition to the countries represented in the November summit, the meeting will be attended by leading diplomats from the European Union, Russia and the United States to talk about security.

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    Children freed from Aust Detention centres, at last

    Children were whisked out of Baxter detention centre yesterday and taken to a Port Augusta housing complex to await their release today.

    Ten families, with 18 children, will be released today under a softening of the Federal Government's immigration detention policy.

    Prime Minister John Howard's six-week deadline to have all children out of detention centres expires today.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • 42 children released from immigration detention

    Hmong refugees pleading to stay

    In a temporary camp in Phetchabun, northern Thailand, there is a constant chorus of babies crying and children coughing. Smoke rises from damp wood stacked under iron pots. It always seems to have rained, or to be on the point of doing so.

    The camp is home to a growing number of Hmong refugees, who started arriving in the northern Thai province last year.

    In recent months the numbers have grown to more than 5,000.

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    Appeal to help arrested members of the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience

    Prisoners of conscience Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al- 'Abdullah are now known to have been held first at the Political Security Detention Centre in Damascus, and moved from there to 'Adra prison, near Damascus. They are known have been allowed at least one visit each from family members, but it is not known whether they have been tortured.

    They are reportedly to be tried by a military court on charges of "establishing a secret society" and "defamation of the public administration". Trials before military courts are not independent or impartial. In many cases defendants appear to be presumed guilty, and their rights to present a defence and have legal representation are not respected.

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    Korean criminal pardon fails to tackle problems

    In South Korea, committing adultery or breaking a promise to marry someone can land the transgressor in the dock. By the same token, there is a good chance that anyone who breaches foreign currency controls or becomes involved in a contractual dispute will end up with a criminal conviction.

    South Korea may have a developed economy, an elected government and sophisticated television phones, but its justice system remains stuck in the past.

    On Monday, the day Koreans celebrate the 60th anniversary of liberation from Japan, President Roh Moo-hyun will pardon 4.2m criminals. Reprieves will be granted for everything from traffic violations and breaching the national security law which until this year labelled North Korea as the South's main enemy to business and political crimes.

    While pardons are routinely granted on Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving), lunar new year and Buddha's birthday, this is the fourth-largest amnesty in the 57-year history of the Korean constitution.

    The staggering scale of the amnesties reflects the criminalisation of South Korean society. The judicial system is at the heart of the problem there is no civil code to speak of in South Korea, so every transgression becomes a crime, and lawyers complain about the politicisation of the judiciary and almost universal powers of prosecutors.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • North Korea sets amnesty as outside pressures grow

    HICKS: Not a Happy Birthday!

    David Hicks, the Australian imprisoned at the US Base of Guantanamo Bay, will be 30 years old this coming Monday August 7, 2005.

    Justice for Hicks and Habib campaigner, Marlene Obeid, said: ‘David has been imprisoned and tortured for 3 years and 9 months now. Another birthday in the hellhole of Guantanamo – nothing to be happy about.’

    Mr Hicks’ Australian solicitor, David McLeod, found in a recent visit to the US Base that his client is losing his eyesight, has severe back problems, and his mental condition is rapidly deteriorating.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • David Hicks Case Information
  • Hicks turns 30 as he still awaits trial
  • Top lawyer takes aim at Hicks commission
  • Hicks Case Flawed: Prosecutors
  • Two US Prosecutors Claim Guantanamo Trials Rigged
  • Law Council condemns Hicks trialClick Here for Complete Story
  • US rules out death penalty for Hicks
  • Tribunals to Resume for Guantanamo Detainees

    Homage to a Human Rights Defender

    The Lao Movement for Humans Right (LMHR) learned with deep emotion and infinite sadness the passing away of Dr. Pozeb VANG, a true human rights militant.

    Founder of the Lao Human Rights Council, for which he has ensured the presidency with devotion and efficiency since 1987, Dr. Pozeb VANG dedicated his life to the values of freedom, justice and basic rights of the Lao people, particularly Lao-Hmong persecuted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic ( LPDR).

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    Govt backs crackdown on tourists in Bali

    Australia has backed a crackdown on tourists who flout Indonesia's drug laws after Bali police said they would force travellers to undergo random urine tests at clubs and rave parties.

    Bali drug squad chief Bambang Sugiarto plans to get Indonesian drug squad officers to force tourists, at random, to submit to the urine tests at social venues.

    He says education campaigns have been run about Indonesia's drug laws. The next logical steps for officers trying to uphold those laws are random testing and raids, he says.

    Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has backed the crackdown, which follows the recent series of Australian arrests including Sydney model Michelle Leslie.

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    I'm innocent, says teen jailed in Cambodia

    SENTENCED to serve 13 years in a squalid Cambodian jail for drug trafficking, Sydney teenager Gordon Vuong sleeps on concrete, misses his mother and wants John Howard to help bring him home.

    In an exclusive interview with The Australian, the Campsie high school student maintained his innocence, saying he was forced to act as a drug mule after threats were made against his mother in Sydney and aunt in Hong Kong.

    Vuong, who turned 17 on August 2, is the youngest Australian in an overseas jail for drug offences.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Australian jailed for 18 years over opium: report.
  • Australian Federal Government has to get involved.
  • Gordon Vuong Case Page

    Activist now back in US told to pay $11,000

    AMERICAN peace activist Scott Parkin arrived back in the US today after spending five days in a Melbourne jail as a "national security risk".

    The 36-year-old Texan history teacher was also given a bill for almost $11,700 after his brush with Australian authorities. Mr Parkin said he was made to feel like a terrorist and a criminal and remained baffled as to why six police officers "snatched him off the street" as he left a Melbourne cafe last Saturday.

    He said he was interrogated and spent the next five days in solitary confinement.

    He was escorted by two Victorian correctional officers on a Qantas passenger plane which left Melbourne yesterday, arriving in Los Angeles this morning.

    "I'm just completely baffled by all of this," said Mr Parkin, surrounded by Australian TV cameras and media, soon after his arrival at Los Angeles international airport.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Peacenik detention 'not political'

    Leslie drug brief in hands of lawyers

    On the front page of the 1.5cm thick dossier is a head and shoulders mug shot of Leslie taken recently by police, since she began wearing a black Muslim burqa-style headcovering.

    Authorities have not backed off when it comes to the seriousness of the charges. They have recommended to prosecutors that the 24-year-old face two charges – a primary charge and a lesser subsidiary charge.

    The primary charge, under article 59 of Indonesia's drug laws, carries a maximum 15-year jail term for those who, without right, possess, keep and/or bring drugs.

    The subsidiary charge, under article 60, carries a maximum three years' jail for those who receive or hand over drugs, and for those who are users of the drug the maximum is only three months' jail.

    The top model has been held in Denpasar's Polda police headquarters jail since her arrest on August 20 this year as there is no provision under Indonesian law for bail. Her team hopes to have her moved as early as next week to Bali's Kerobokan jail which also houses Australians Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine heroin gang suspects.

  • Click Here for Complete Story

  • Fear and frustration, model's daily fare in Bali
  • Police check bribery report
  • Bali model now a devout Muslim
  • Aussie model in Bali drug bust

    Prosecutors confident on Corby life term

    Indonesian prosecutors are confident that a Bali appeals court will increase Schapelle Corby's 20-year jail term to life imprisonment.

    In contrast, the Gold Coast woman is praying that the judges will overturn her conviction for drug smuggling and free her.

    The defence and the prosecution have filed competing appeals and both expect the Bali High Court to bring down its decision soon.

    If she is not released, her defence team expects the court will cut her sentence.

    However, prosecutor Ida Bagus Wiswantanu said he would not be satisfied until Corby was serving a life term for importing 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali last year.

    "We are confident the High Court will increase the sentence because drug crimes have wide implications on society," he said. "If it does not, we will appeal to the Supreme Court."

    Corby is waiting for the court's ruling in a cell at Bali's Kerobokan Prison.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Corby may wait another month: lawyer
  • Message from Schapelle Corby

    News Release October 6, 2005 - LPDR Retribution

    Laos (FFC) On Saturday June 4, 2004 the Fact Finding Commission monitored the surrender of 173 members (mostly women, children, and the elderly) of a Secret War veterans group to the Lao government at the village of Chong Thuang, Laos. After what appeared in the beginning to be a good faith effort on behalf of the LPDR (applauded by Kofi Annan) the Lao military took charge of the group. Though the Lao government has reported that the people we cared for, to date they have not allowed international verification of the treatment given this group. The Fact Finding Commission received the following disturbing report.

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    Cambodia groups hold land forum

    The indigenous peoples of Cambodia have been holding a forum to discuss the threat to traditional territory posed by incomers and land speculators.

    The forum was an effort to find a common strategy to reverse the trend.

    Representatives from 15 provinces made the arduous journey to Stung Treng, in the remote north-east of the country.

    The indigenous peoples now plan to enlist the UN's help, and hope this will persuade the government to pass laws to recognise minority rights.

    Cambodia's indigenous peoples are all facing similar problems and the forum was a valuable opportunity to share experiences and formulate strategies.

    Land grabs, the destruction of the natural environment and the erosion of traditional culture were all on the agenda.

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    At least 31 killed in Guatemala prison gang war

    ESCUINTLA, Guatemala - Gang members staged simultaneous riots in at least seven Guatemalan prisons on Monday, attacking rivals with grenades, guns and knives in coordinated chaos that left 31 inmates dead, officials said.

    The riots apparently began with attacks by members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang against rivals of the MS-18 gang, said Interior Minister Carlos Vielmann.

    He said 31 inmates died before the riots were brought under control shortly after noon.

    An Associated Press photographer saw 18 bodies, many riddled with bullet wounds, carried from El Hoyon prison, which was specifically built to hold gang members in Escuintla, 30 miles south of the capital. A guard and 61 inmates were injured at El Hoyon, and tattooed gang members bleeding from knife wounds were carried from the prison on stretchers.

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    Aussies captured overseas generates media club interest.

    In an Australian first, human rights campaigner Kay Danes and Terry Hicks, father of Guantanamo Bay detainee, David Hicks, will present the inside story of their personal dealings with overseas justice systems at Conrad Jupiters on Friday 26th August.

    And, with Guantanamo Bay back in the news this week, it’s set to be a hugely interesting afternoon.

  • Click Here for More Information & Booking Info

    865 SA smugglers behind bars

    Cape Town - There are 865 South Africans in prisons across the world for trying to smuggle drugs from South Africa into foreign countries.

    According to police, syndicates canvass these so-called drug mules to smuggle drugs out of the country.

    The mules receive between R20 000 and R50 000 for their trouble, depending on the type and amount of drugs they smuggle.

    Superintendent Ronnie Naidoo said the swallowing of condoms filled with drugs was still the preferred method of smuggling drugs.

    Seventy of the 107 drug mules arrested last year had swallowed the consignments.

    The new hearing was scheduled for August 3.

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    Vietnam jails Australian woman for drugs

    A court in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City has sentenced an Australian woman to 20 years in prison for heroin trafficking.

    Tran Thi Hong Loan, a 33-year-old Australian of Vietnamese origin who lives in NSW, was convicted of trafficking 580 grams of heroin and given a 20-year sentence at a one-day trial on Friday, a court official said.

    Vietnamese authorities found the heroin hidden on her body and in her luggage as she was about to board a flight to Sydney last August, said the official, who identified himself only as Hieu.

    She has 15 days to appeal her sentence.

    In Vietnam, possessing, trading or trafficking 600 grams of heroin or 20 kilograms of opium is punishable by death or life in prison.

    About 100 people are sentenced to death each year in Vietnam for drug-related offences.

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    Man faces jail after Bali drug bust

    A MELBOURNE-based German citizen is the latest foreigner to be charged with drug offences in Bali.

    Patrick Guy Prinzler, 34, whose last known address was Queens Rd, is in a Denpasar jail accused of having 0.7g of hashish in his pocket.

    Mr Prinzler, who was holidaying in Bali, faces a maximum 10-year jail term for possession of illegal drugs.

    Police said Mr Prinzler was arrested late last week in the upmarket area of Seminyak after a tip-off.

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    Peter Qasim Freed! - 'Happy' Qasim thanks supporters

    Australia's longest serving immigration detainee, Peter Qasim, says he is very happy to be released after seven years in detention.

    The Federal Government announced several weeks ago that Mr Qasim would be released pending health and character checks.

    He received a bridging visa after it was approved by the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone last night.

    Mr Qasim is currently receiving treatment at Adelaide's Glenside Psychiatric Hospital, and will consult with his doctors tomorrow to work out a plan for his release from the hospital.

    Mr Qasim says he plans to live with an Adelaide couple, and would like to seek work when his health improves.

    He has thanked those who played a role in his release.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Qasim thanks govt for freedom at last
  • After 7 years, Qasim can go free
  • Click Here for Peter Qasim Case Information

    Man faces jail after Bali drug bust

    A MELBOURNE-based German citizen is the latest foreigner to be charged with drug offences in Bali.

    Patrick Guy Prinzler, 34, whose last known address was Queens Rd, is in a Denpasar jail accused of having 0.7g of hashish in his pocket.

    Mr Prinzler, who was holidaying in Bali, faces a maximum 10-year jail term for possession of illegal drugs.

    Police said Mr Prinzler was arrested late last week in the upmarket area of Seminyak after a tip-off.

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    Prisoners complain to European Court and President

    UKRAINE, Kiev. More than 9,000 complaints filed by Ukrainian prisoners are pending at the European Court of Human Rights. The number of the complaints has increased fivefold since the early 2000s.

    Prisoners complain of the dragged-out judicial process, torture during interrogations and poor conditions in pre-trial detention and prisons. Almost 20,000 people are currently held in pre-trial detention without charge. Because of severe overcrowding prisoners are often unable to find space to write a letter of appeal.

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    Prison Director Sacked After Hundreds Of Cases Of Self-Mutilation

    Hundreds of inmates have slashed their bodies with razor blades to protest mistreatment and beatings by guards at a prison camp in the city of Lgov, 500 kilometers south of Moscow. The prison director and his two deputies were sacked on 4 July after an investigation backed the inmates' claims of abuse. The unprecedented mass mutilation has outraged human rights groups and drawn attention to the nightmarish conditions that plague many Russian prisons.

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    Teen jailing prompts treaty talks

    THE desperate plight of a Sydney teenager sentenced to 13 years' jail for heroin smuggling has prompted the Howard Government to begin negotiations for a prisoner exchange treaty with Cambodia.

    Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the Government was keen to help 16-year-old Gordon Vuong, who has spent the past five months in a squalid Cambodian prison.

    "It is of concern that we have a juvenile Australian national who has been sentenced to 13 years in Cambodia," Senator Ellison said yesterday.

    "We are certainly addressing the question of the transfer of prisoners with Cambodia, as well as other areas of co-operation. "Leaving aside the question of guilt and the offence involved, where you have a juvenile there are different considerations."

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    Hmong Refugees in Thailand Evicted

    Soaked by rain, thousands of poor ethnic Hmong refugees from Laos were living without shelter in northern Thailand on Tuesday, forced from their homes under a Thai campaign to pressure them to return to their native land.

    Landlords in this village said the government set a Monday deadline for them to evict the some 6,500 refugees from their bamboo shelters, threatening them with prison or fines up to $1,200 for sheltering the Hmong, considered by Thailand to be illegal immigrants.

    Thai officials also instructed vendors not to sell food to the refugees, including children, camped out since late Monday by the roadside in Huay Nam Khao, village leaders said.

    "They have no place to stay, no place to cook, how can they stand the heat and rain?" asked Sawai Leeprecha, a Thai-Hmong village leader.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Hmong `will be forced back' - Laos taking steps to prevent their return

    When foreign children run a foul of the law

    My kids generally don't mind it when I write about them in this column, although on occasion my older son has accused me of exploiting him for professional gain. It happened again when he heard the topic for today's column. "You're writing about foreign kids who get in trouble with the police?" He rolled his eyes. "And I suppose you want me to get myself arrested so you can write all about it!"

    Actually, that's one experience I could live without. I hope neither of my kids ever get arrested, particularly in a foreign country. But such things happen. Last year, more than 1,000 foreign juveniles were arrested in Japan. More than half were either Brazilian or Chinese, but kids of many different nationalities were detained. Some get convicted.

    Of the 5,809 minors admitted to the Japanese juvenile correction system in 2002, 153 were foreigners. There are currently three U.S. citizens under the age of 20 in Japanese reformatories.

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    Dayton Asks Rice to Send Delegation to Laos

    Sen. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin's two senators want Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to send an independent intermediary to Laos to monitor the country's treatment of Hmong refugees.

    The Hmong, an ethnic group that fought alongside the CIA during the Vietnam War, have been living on the run in the Laotian jungles since the end of the war and have faced persecution by the communist government. Thousands of Hmong who were able to flee the country settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Earlier this month, 170 women, children and old men emerged from jungle hideouts in Laos and surrendered to the government, the first wave of thousands more that are expected to follow.

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    Aussie youth shares cell with 27

    THERE are 27 others in my cell. I am number 28. Rapists, murderers - mainly robbers."

    These are the words 16-year-old Gordon Vuong, of New South Wales, uses to describe his new life in the squalid Cambodian prison where he will spend the next 13 years. Sleeping on concrete and subsisting on thin gruel and rice, the Campsie teenager from Christian Brothers Lewisham is the youngest of 118 Australians serving prison terms overseas.

    Speaking publicly for the first time since being sentenced to 13 years jail last month, Gordon Vuong said he was scared and losing hope.

    "My family try to give me money to buy extra food when they can. If you don't have that, you eat plain prison rice, which is contaminated with chemicals and gives you skin problems."

    The Australian-born teenager shares two buckets of drinking water each day with his 27 cellmates because there is no running water and he survives on putrid prison soup.

    Vuong has so far spent six months in the juvenile wing of the notorious prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh which is home to about 1000 prisoners, including terrorists and pedophiles.

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    Thailand's Gulag and Ethnic Minorities

    Amazing, is it not, how millions of tourists flood into Thailand yet see only the superficial, shiny silk packaging of the country? Some tourists visit poor hilltribe villages and still fail to understand the discrimination, oppression and denial of basic human rights which villagers suffer at the hands of corrupt officials, who treat ethnic minorities as outcasts in their own land.

    How many tourists to Thailand have noticed the huge refugee camps of Karen and other minorities in the north-west of the country? How many know about the Hmong refugees fleeing persecution in Laos only to suffer chronic lack of rights and oppression in Thailand? How many have seen the large numbers of orphanages and residential schools, often under the guise of christian establishments, in northern Thailand, filled with Akha and other ethnic minority hilltribe children? They resemble those in Australia, Canada and elsewhere which have been severely condemned, with governments having to pay compensation for their past dirty deeds of attempted cultural and ethnic cleansing, sexual abuse, and other such crimes against indigenous people. How many tourists know about the disproportionally large numbers of ethnic minorities held in Thai jails?

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    Bakir wants 500K, Corbys say

    GOLD Coast businessman Ron Bakir has told convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby she owes him $500,000, her family says.

    Mr Bakir denies the claim, saying if he is not repaid any money for his role in Corby's defence, "so be it."

    Mr Bakir has been regarded as a 'White Knight', but Corby's mother, Rosleigh Rose has now questioned the motives and labelled him a 'Black Knight'.

    The family was unaware the Australian Government had paid for the Indonesian lawyers at her daughter's Bali trial, because Mr Bakir took credit for bankrolling the case, Ms Rose said.

    "Schapelle goes (to Ron): All that money?" Ms Rose told The Bulletin.

    "He goes: Don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to pay me back when you get out.

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  • Click Here for Case Details & News Archive

  • Schapelle’s case of stolen identity
  • QCs left out of Corby appeal
  • STAY CALM Schapelle Corby's plea to Australia
  • Flood of 'Corby' charities concerns Qld Govt
  • Bali court sentences Corby to 20 years in jail
  • Transcript of Schapelle Corby Verdict

    Hicks may have to wait for one more year

    David Hicks is meeting his lawyers at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba this weekend, to continue preparations for his defence.

    Hicks has been held at Guantanamo for more than three years and is the last prisoner there from countries that were part of the coalition that fought in the war in Afghanistan. He faces charges of conspiracy to attack civilians, attempted murder of coalition forces and aiding the enemy in Afghanistan.

    The last of seven French prisoners were released in March, and five British prisoners left about the same time. All were freed on their return home.

    With the outcome of legal challenges to the military commissions set up by the Bush Administration still to be decided, no one knows when Hicks - one of only four prisoners among 520 or so to be charged with specific offences - will get his day in court.

  • Click Here for Complete Story Click Here for Guantanamo Case Page

    Death penalty urged for Australian

    KUWAIT'S public prosecutor has called for the death penalty for an Australian man and 33 other suspected al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants accused of involvement in deadly clashes with police.

    The request for death sentences against the militants, including Australian Talal Adrey, was made in the charge sheet at the trial, which opened in May and resumed yesterday amid tight security.

    Most of the suspects are accused of involvement in four gunbattles with Kuwaiti security forces in January that left four police officers dead and 10 others wounded.

    Eight militants were killed in the fighting, while Amer Khlaif al-Enezi, the alleged leader of the group, known as the "Peninsula Lions Brigade" and believed to be linked to Saudi militants and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, died in police detention eight days after his arrest in January.

    Among the charges are joining an illegal extremist group, carrying out terrorist acts, participating in the killing of several policemen and plotting to attack US forces and citizens in the oil-rich Gulf emirate.

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  • Click Here for Tallaal Adrey Case Page
  • Australians fear for man detained in Kuwait
  • Turn Up Heat On Kuwait: Rudd

    Plea for Australian who faces the firing squad

    THE Federal Government will plead for the life of an Australian national sentenced to death in Vietnam for conspiring to smuggle heroin.

    Vietnamese state-run radio announced yesterday the 46-year-old Victorian man of Vietnamese origin, Mai Cong Thanh, had been sentenced to death by firing squad.

    He had been charged with conspiring with two other Australian nationals to take heroin from Vietnam to Australia.

    Justice Minister Chris Ellison said he would be "pulling out all stops" to ensure the sentence was not carried out.

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  • Australian gets death sentence over drugs
  • Govt to lobby against death penalty
  • Death by firing squad for Australian
  • Viets sentence Australian to death
  • Australian national gets death penalty in Vietnam for drug trafficking

    Lithgow man forgotten in an Argentine jail

    A Lithgow man is among a long list of Australians held for extended periods in foreign prisons while awaiting long delayed Court proceedings.

    His details were included in a list published in the Sunday Age and Sydney Morning Herald in a wave of such revelations by lobbyists in the wake of the furore over the Schapelle Corby case in Indonesia and the calls for a prisoner exchange arrangement.

    The Lithgow man was identified as 41 year old Stephen John Sutton who has been in jail in South America for more than two years.

  • Click Here for complete News Update

  • F.P.S.S News Update - Stephen John Sutton Case
  • Read more about the Sutton case here.

    Report on the 10th High Court Appeal Hearing.

    Tokyo June 9th 2005 The "Magic Key" Theory

    The excruciatingly long delays between court hearings that typify Japanese judicial procedure, have allowed defense council time to commission an independent report on photographs taken by customs officials on the day of Nick's arrest.

    Tokyo High Court officials, in whose custody evidential articles are being retained, permitted the scanning of the original negatives of the suitcase by a digital imaging expert. The resulting data was then passed to a video expert for computer-enhancement. A reconstruction of the custom's photographs was also suggested. This reconstruction, using the original suitcase and its contents, was staged at the High Court at the end of May. (It is noteworthy that the prosecution obstructed the gathering of all the items to be used for the reconstruction, claiming that one item, a battery charger "...belonged to James.")

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  • Nick Baker case – key proves key to the defence
  • Report on the 9th High Court Appeal Hearing
  • Click Here for Nick Baker Case File & News Archive

    Australian defence team meets Corby family

    SCHAPELLE Corby's family has met two Australian barristers who have joined forces to assist her Indonesian legal team prepare its appeal against her 20- year sentence for drug smuggling.

    After the meeting, in Bali, Corby's sister Mercedes said she and the family felt "much better about everything".

    "We feel reassured," Ms Corby said after discussing her sister's case with Mark Trowell, QC, and Phillip Laskaris. Also present were Corby's father Michael and Mercedes' Balinese husband Wayan Widiartha.

    The meeting helped dispel suggestions of rifts between the Indonesian legal team and the Perth barristers who were asked by the Australian Government to help with the appeal to the Denpasar High Court. Mr Trowell and Mr Laskaris plan to meet Corby today at Kerobokan Jail where she is being held. They said the Corby family was devastated about the extent of anti-Indonesian sentiment which has been displayed in Australia since the guilty finding and realised it was not helpful to Corby's case.

    "It certainly doesn't reflect the views of Mercedes and her father who have just made that very clear to us," Mr Laskaris said.

  • Click Here for Archive of this release Click Here for the Schapelle Corby Case Page

    Nick Baker case – key proves key to the defence

    Nick Baker, a British prisoner unfairly convicted in Japan on drug smuggling charges, will have his appeal hearing on Wednesday 9th June 2005 at 2pm local time, at the Tokyo High Court. It is hoped that this will the last hearing before the summing up.

    In a positive development, the new judge presiding over the case last week gave Nick’s defence lawyer, Mr Miyake, permission to reconstruct the suitcase and its contents in order to prove that the key had been in a pocket in the suitcase all along and that the customs officials had lied. Customs officials had earlier said that Nick had had the key on his person and had tossed it into the case. Had this been true, it would have indicated that the case was his.

    Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European justice spokesperson who has campaigned since 2002 on behalf of Nick Baker and flew to Tokyo in 2003 with Sabine Zanker of Fair Trials Abroad in the attempt to get him a fair trial, said:

    “Only now following a change of judge, and after 3 years of injustice, is the defence being given the chance to expose the original lies of the custom officials.” "This gives me hope that justice will finally be done, but it is a long and debilitating haul for Nick and his family.".

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  • Report on the 9th High Court Appeal Hearing
  • Click Here for Nick Baker Case File & News Archive

    Freedom for the Lao-Hmong guides of Thierry FALISE et Vincent REYNAUD

    Two years ago, day for day in June 2003, two European journalists, Thierry FALISE from Belgium and Vincent REYNAUD from France, their Lao-American interpreter Naw-Karl MUA, as well as their three Lao-Hmong guides --Mr. Tho MOUA, Mr. Pa Fue KHANG and Mr. Va Cha YANG-were arrested by the authorities of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (LPDR) for visiting Lao-Hmong groups hunted down by the governmental troups in the Xaysomboun Special Zone, for press coverage purposes.

    Following international pressure, both European journalists and their Lao-American journalists were expelled from the LPDR in July 9, 2003, after having been sentenced to prison and fines by a 'people's tribunal' in the course of a mockery of a trial. However, 730 days after their arrest, the three Lao-Hmong guides are still kept in the LPDR prisons.

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    Laos Deports Hmong Activists From U.S.

    BANGKOK, Thailand - The Laotian government released three of four U.S. activists detained after witnessing the surrender of Hmong rebels — Vietnam War-era allies of the United States — and deported them Monday to Thailand, one of the freed activists said.

    Ed Szendrey of Oroville, Calif., who was released along with his wife, Georgie, and Hmong-American Nhia Yang, told The Associated Press he was elated at being freed but concerned for Hmong- American Sia Cher Vang, the group's driver, who remained in jail.

    The three were freed by Laotian authorities Monday afternoon in the capital, Vientiane, and escorted across the nearby border with Thailand by U.S. consular officials.

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    To be so helpless is what tortures your mind

    Kay Danes knows first-hand what Schapelle Corby is going through, writes CINDY WOCKNER in Bali

    One week ago, as Kay Danes sat in the Denpasar District Court and watched the extraordinary drama as Schapelle Corby was declared guilty, it all came flooding back to her.

    She was one of the few people in the crowded room who really knew how Corby was feeling at that terrible moment.

    Four years earlier, the 37-year-old Brisbane woman and her husband Kerry sat in a court in Laos and listened as the couple were convicted, after a four-hour trial during which they could not even present a defence case, of embezzlement, tax evasion and gem smuggling and sentenced to seven years' jail.

    "Everything just flashed back,'' she says. "Mine was a similar scene, three judges sitting in front, that feeling when all you can do is look and shake your head.'' "You can't do anything, you can't change anything,'' Danes says of observing at close quarters the conviction of another woman by a foreign court system.

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    46 Aussies on drugs charges in Asian jails

    ACROSS Southeast Asia, 46 Australians are languishing in prison cells on drug-trafficking charges, with little prospect of attracting the same support as Schapelle Corby.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that three Australians were on death row after being convicted of narcotics offences in Asia.

    Vietnam, which has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws, last year sentenced an Australian man to death by firing squad for heroin trafficking.

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    Australian officials seek Indonesia prisoner swap pact

    Sydney (DPA): Australian officials are expected to arrive on Monday in Indonesia to start negotiations on a prisoner exchange agreement that would allow convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby to serve her 20-year sentence in a jail in her homeland, news reports said.

    Indonesia last week rejected a one-off deal to have the 27-year-old former beautician, who was found guilty last month of smuggling 4.1 kilograms of cannabis into Bali, pass her time in an Australian prison.

    Bruce Billson, parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, is going to Indonesia with a parliamentary delegation and told reporters that the government was optimistic that a wider prisoner swap pact could be reached, the national news agency AAP reported.

    Billson said that he hoped to meet senior Indonesian ministers as well as other legislators during the delegation's visit to Jakarta.

    "It would be a good opportunity to make the point that there are 30 Indonesians in Australian jails for federal offenses, and there's 14 Australians in Indonesian jails, mainly for drug-related offenses," he said.

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    Corby Verdict - The Fall Out (Stephen John Sutton)

    Australian Consular officials have met with Stephen John Sutton on June 3, 2005.

    Elizabeth Cluse has given FPSS permission to release this latest information.

    Mr Sutton was well and feeling better than in previous visits. He said his back problem is much better now and he is not taking any medication at all. We were also able to confirm that his interview with the defender had taken place in March. Mr Sutton said that he had been advised by prison officers that his hearing will take place on the 6th July ( we will confirm this with his defender). Mr Sutton asked if the following message could be passed to his family: "I think of them all. Love them." We also confirmed that his family is in contact with Consular Operations.

  • Stephen John Sutton Case Information
  • Corby Verdict - The Fall Out (Stephen John Sutton)

    Vietnam sentences Australian to 20 years for drug trafficking

    An Australian man was sentenced to 20 years in a Vietnamese prison for trafficking heroin, a court official said Friday.

    Tony Tran, 43, from New South Wales, was convicted Wednesday of trafficking 150 grams (0.33 pounds) of heroin from Vietnam to Australia, said presiding judge Vu Xuan Hai.

    Tran's Vietnamese girlfriend, Le Thi Van, 33, received 15 years in prison on the same charges at the end of the two-day trial in Phu Yen province, some 550 kilometers (342 miles) northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, he said.

    The two were arrested in May 2004 after they were caught mailing 15 packages of heroin stuffed between photos to Australia from Vietnam, the judge said.

    In Vietnam, possessing, trading or trafficking 600 grams (1.32 pounds) of heroin or 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of opium is punishable by death or life in prison.

  • Click Here for Complete Story
  • Man gets 20 years for sending heroin in letters
  • Heroin smuggler gets 20 years

    Death penalty returns to Iraq, with a vengeance

    BAGHDAD (AFP) - With four death sentences handed down within the space of days, judicial executions are set to return to Iraq where the authorities are desperate for a deterrent to halt rampant insurgent attacks.

    Seven convicted Iraqi criminals and insurgents are currently on death row and although the sentences have yet to be carried out, the interior ministry have vowed that the first hangings will take place next month.

    While the looming prospect of executions is worrying human rights groups, the government insists it has no alternative. "We must maintain order and dissuade criminals and terrorists," said government spokesman Leith Kubba.

    The death sentence was widely practised under now imprisoned former dictator Saddam Hussein, who himself could face the death penalty if he is ultimately found guilty of charges of crimes against humanity.

    Capital punishment was suspended by the former US military commander in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, soon after the invasion, before being reinstated in June last year by the unelected interim Iraqi government.

    Three common law criminals were sentenced to death in Karbala, southern Iraq, a month later for the murder of relatives, but the sentences have yet to be carried out.

    On May 21 however, Interior Minister Bayan Baqer Solagh ended uncertainty over the use of the death penalty when he said it was "still applicable" and would be rigorously applied.

    Since Iraq's first elected government took office in late March, judges have ordered that four men be executed for their crimes.

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