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Greek Dissidents Political Persecution


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European Dissidents ALARM


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My father's death


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Zeppelin: Beyond Gravity


Foreign intervention in Greece?


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Being a German


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An urgent appeal for solidarity

More obvious than the Sun

Western "culture"

Political Asylum

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Creative Greeks

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Prisoners of Conscience - Political Prisoners PDF Εκτύπωση E-mail
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Συνεννόηση για Διαφύλαξη - Απόψεις
Συντάχθηκε απο τον/την Χρήστος Μπούμπουλης (Christos Boumpoulis)   
Τρίτη, 20 Αύγουστος 2013 21:56




Institutions - government, churches, industries, and the like - have properly no other function than to contribute to human freedom; and in so far as they fail, on the whole, to perform this function, they are wrong and need reconstruction.

(Charles Horton Cooley) 

Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by Peter Benenson in a 28 May 1961 article ("The Forgotten Prisoners") for the London Observer newspaper. Most often associated with the human rights organisation Amnesty International, the term can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, or political views. It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violentexpression of their conscientiously held beliefs.



The article "The Forgotten Prisoners" by Peter Benenson, published in The Observer 28 May 1961, launched the campaign "Appeal for Amnesty 1961" and first defined a "prisoner of conscience".[2]

Any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing (in any form of words or symbols) any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence. We also exclude those people who have conspired with a foreign government to overthrow their own.


The primary goal for this year-long campaign, founded by the English lawyer Peter Benenson and a small group of writers, academics and lawyers includingQuaker peace activist Eric Baker, was to identify individual prisoners of conscience around the world and then campaign for their release. In early 1962, the campaign had received enough public support to become a permanent organization and was renamed Amnesty International.

Under British law, Amnesty International was classed as a political organisation and therefore excluded from tax-free charity status.[3] To work around this, the "Fund for the Persecuted" was established in 1962 to receive donations to support prisoners and their families. The name was later changed to the "Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund" and is now a separate and independent charity which provides relief and rehabilitation grants to prisoners of conscience in the UK and around the world.[4]

Amnesty International has, since its founding, pressured governments to release those persons it considers to be prisoners of conscience.[5] Governments, conversely, tend to deny that the specific prisoners identified by Amnesty International are, in fact, being held on the grounds Amnesty claims; they allege that these prisoners pose genuine threats to the security of their countries.[6]

The phrase is now widely used in political discussions to describe a political prisoner, whether or not Amnesty International has specifically adopted the case, although the phrase has a different scope and definition than that of political prisoner.[7]


Current Amnesty International prisoners of conscience

Below is an incomplete list of individuals that Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience, organized by country.


^ "Burma releases pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi". BBC News. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.

  1. ^ Peter Berenson (28 May 1961). "The Forgotten Prisoners". The Observer. Retrieved 28 May 2011.

  2. ^ Hopgood, Steven (2006). Keepers of the Flame: The Understanding Amnesty International. Cornell University Press. p. 70.

  3. ^ "About Us". Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund. Retrieved 22 April 2011.

  4. ^ "History of Organization". The Nobel Foundation. 1977. Retrieved 22 April 2011.

  5. ^ Human Rights and the Dirty War in Mexico by Kate Doyle

  6. ^ "Freed China prisoner reaches US". BBC News. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2010.

  7. ^ a b c "Azerbaijan: Authorities determined to silence dissent to ensure successful Eurovision". Amnesty International. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.

  8. ^ "Azerbaijan: Opposition activist freed as pre-Eurovision hunger strike begins". Amnesty International. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.

  9. ^ a b "Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb: Prisoners of Conscience". Amnesty International. 2012. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.

  10. ^ "Bahraini Human Rights Activist Arrested". Amnesty International. 5 November 2012. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.

  11. ^ "Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab is 'prisoner of conscience'". Amnesty International. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.

  12. ^ "Bahrain activist arrested and charged". Amnesty International. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.

  13. ^ "Bahrain must free prisoners of conscience after outrageous verdict". Amnesty International. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.

  14. ^ "Jailed Belarusian Activist Faces Review For 'Closed Regime'" (in Belarusian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.

  15. ^ "Amnesty International considered Ales Belyatsky prisoner of conscience". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.

  16. ^ a b c d e "Further information on UA 264/10 (21 December 2010) and follow-ups (23 December 2010, 12 January 2011, 31 January 2011, 7 March 2011)". Amnesty International. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  17. ^ "Belarus urged to free remaining prisoners of conscience after two released". Amnesty International. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.

  18. ^ "Belarus urged to release 'teddy bear' free speech activist". Amnesty International. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.

  19. ^ "Convictions of activists in Cambodia demonstrates dire state of justice". Amnesty International. 27 December 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.

  20. ^ a b "Sharp rise in harassment and attacks against activists and journalists in Cuba". Amnesty International. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.

  21. ^ "Egyptian Arrested for Critical Internet Posts". Amnesty International. 28 September 2012. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

  22. ^ a b c d "Eritrea: Prisoners of conscience held for a decade must be released". Amnesty International. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.

  23. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Amnesty International. 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.

  24. ^ Amnesty International. "Eskinder Nega". Retrieved 16 June 2013.

  25. ^ "Ebrima Manneh". Amnesty International. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  26. ^ "Indian human rights activist Binayak Sen to be released on bail". Amnesty International. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  27. ^ "India: Release Soni Sori on International Women's Day". Amnesty International. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012.

  28. ^ "Indonesia: Atheist imprisonment a setback for freedom of expression". Amnesty International. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.

  29. ^ "Prisoners of Conscience". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  30. ^ "Amnesty Demands Indonesia Drop Blasphemy Charges Against Shiite Leader". Jakarta Globe. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.

  31. ^ "Indonesia: Prisoner of Conscience Beaten". Amnesty International. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.

  32. ^ "Indonesia: Release Johan Teterissa and other prisoners of conscience in Indonesia". Amnesty International. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.

  33. ^ "Iran: Further Information: Three Iranian Journalists Sentenced". Amnesty International. 8 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.

  34. ^ a b "Iran must release prisoner of conscience Zhila Bani-Yaghoub". Amnesty International. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.

  35. ^ "Iran must immediately release prisoner of conscience Arzhang Davoodi". Amnesty International. 24 August 2012. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.

  36. ^ a b "Urgent Action: Increasing concerns for safety of Goudarzi". Amnesty International. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.

  37. ^ "Iran: Free prisoner of conscience to visit ailing son". Amnesty International. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.

  38. ^ "Urgent Action: Human rights activist sentenced" (PDF). Amnesty International. 13 April 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.

  39. ^ "Iran: Jailed Blogger Denied Medical Leave". Amnesty International. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.

  40. ^ "Urgent Action: human rights Defender imprisoned". Amnesty International. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.

  41. ^ "Prisoner at risk of torture and ill-treatment". Amnesty International. 14 September 2009. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.

  42. ^ "Urgent Action: Prisoner taken from cell at risk of torture". Amnesty International. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2012.

  43. ^ "Mansour Ossanlu, Prisoner of Conscience". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  44. ^ "About the Prometheus Project". American Repertory Theater. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.

  45. ^ a b "Iran must release human rights defender Mohammad Ali Dadkhah". Amnesty International. 1 October 2012. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012.

  46. ^ "Trade Unionist Given Six-Year Prison Sentence". Amnesty International. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.

  47. ^ "Further information on UA 197/10 (9 September 2010)". Amnesty International. 19 January 2011. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  48. ^ "Heshmatollah Tabarzadi (m), aged 53, journalist". Amnesty International. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  49. ^ a b c d "Prisoners of Conscience". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  50. ^ "Amnesty: Leftist writer Qatamesh a prisoner of conscience". Amnesty International. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  51. ^ "Israeli Authorities Must Release Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience in West Bank". Amnesty International. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.

  52. ^ "Kuwaiti man sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for ‘insulting’ Tweets". Amnesty International. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.

  53. ^ "Kyrgyzstan: Further Information: Prisoner of Conscience on Brink of Death: Azimzhan Askarov". Amnesty International. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  54. ^ "2.2. Shin Sook Ja and her daughters", North Korea: Summary of Amnesty International's concerns, Amnesty International, 1993, retrieved 8 May 2012

  55. ^ Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its sixty-third session, United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, 16 July 2012, retrieved 25 September 2012

  56. ^ Gillian Wong (23 December 2011). "China sentences rights activist Chen Wei to nine years in jail". The Independent. Retrieved 7 January 2012.

  57. ^ "China: Tibetan film-maker may face unfair trial, Dhondup Wangchen". Amnesty International. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2011.

  58. ^ "Uighur teacher extradited to China on politically motivated 'terror' charges". Amnesty International. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011.

  59. ^ "Amnesty International 'Shocked' Following Reports of Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng's Return to Prison". Amnesty International. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.

  60. ^ "Further Information on UA 257/10 (15 December 2010) - Prisoner of Conscience/ Risk of Torture". Amnesty International. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  61. ^ "End Repression of Expression: Free Liu Xiaobo". Amnesty International. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.

  62. ^ "MAO HENGFENG: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

  63. ^ a b Tan Shu Yan (2 June 2012). "Amnesty International Appeals for Urgent Action: Falun Gong Practitioners at Risk of Torture". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 2 June 2012.

  64. ^ a b "Russian businessmen declared prisoners of conscience after convictions are upheld". Amnesty International. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.

  65. ^ "Russia: Release punk singers held after performance in church". Amnesty International. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.

  66. ^ "Saudi Arabia uses capital offence of 'apostasy' to stifle debate". Amnesty International. 24 December 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.

  67. ^ "Amnesty joins calls to free Saudi 'hunger striker'". Agence France-Presse. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.

  68. ^ "Saudi Arabia urged to allow prisoner of conscience to visit ill mother". Amnesty International. 19 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.

  69. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Trial of Riyadh protester 'utterly unwarranted'". Amnesty International. 22 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.

  70. ^ "Death penalty fear for Tweeter facing forcible return to Saudi Arabia from Malaysia". Amnesty International. 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.

  71. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Man might face death penalty for tweets: Hamza Kashgari". Amnesty International. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.

  72. ^ "Sudanese Youth Activist at Risk of Torture". Amnesty International. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.

  73. ^ "Sudan must end clampdown on media". Amnesty International. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.

  74. ^ "Release Syrian prisoner of conscience ‘Ali al-‘Abdullah". Amnesty International. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.

  75. ^ "Syrian Activist Faces Secret Military Court". Amnesty International. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.

  76. ^ "Urgent Action- Health Concerns for Detained Syrian Activist - Shibal Ibrahim". Amnesty International. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.

  77. ^ "Syria: activists forced into hiding by threats". Amnesty International. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011.

  78. ^ "Somyot lese majeste judgement on Wednesday". The Bangkok Post. 22 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.

  79. ^ a b c "Tunisia: Mounting attacks on freedom of expression". Amnesty International. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.

  80. ^ "Possible Trial for US Conscientious Objector" (PDF). Amnesty International. 12 December 2012. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.

  81. ^ "US Urged to Press Tashkent on Political Prisoners". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 21 August 2012. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.

  82. ^ "Prominent Vietnamese activist jailed over democracy calls". Amnesty International. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  83. ^ "Urgent Action : Le Cong Dinh, human rights lawyer: arrested". Retrieved 21 June 2009.

  84. ^ "VIETNAMESE AUTHORITIES MUST RELEASE DR. NGUYEN DAN QUE". Amnesty International. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  85. ^ "Vietnamese bloggers deny charges, third in leniency bid". BBC News. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.

  86. ^ "Catholic Priest Risks Being Returned to Prison". Amnesty International. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.

  87. ^ a b "Viet Nam: Halt crackdown on freedom of expression". Amnesty International. 7 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.

  88. ^ "Viet Nam activist prison sentence condemned". Amnesty International. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012.

A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible.

The term is used by persons or groups challenging the legitimacy of the detention of a prisoner. Supporters of the term define a political prisoner as someone who is imprisoned for his or her participation in political activity. If a political offense was not the official reason for detention, the term would imply that the detention was motivated by the prisoner's politics.

Various definitions

Some understand the term political prisoner narrowly, equating it with the term prisoner of conscience (POC). Amnesty International campaigns for the release of prisoners of conscience, which include both political prisoners as well as those imprisoned for their religious or philosophical beliefs. To reduce controversy, and as a matter of principle, the organization's policy applies only to prisoners who have not committed or advocated violence. Thus, there are political prisoners who do not fit the narrower criteria for POCs. The organization defines the differences as follows:[1]

AI uses the term “political prisoner” broadly. It does not use it, as some others do, to imply that all such prisoners have a special status or should be released. It uses the term only to define a category of prisoners for whom AI demands a fair and prompt trial. In AI's usage, the term includes any prisoner whose case has a significant political element: whether the motivation of the prisoner's acts, the acts in themselves, or the motivation of the authorities. “Political” is used by AI to refer to aspects of human relations related to “politics”: the mechanisms of society and civil order, the principles, organization, or conduct of government or public affairs, and the relation of all these to questions of language, ethnic origin, sex or religion, status or influence (among other factors). The category of political prisoners embraces the category of prisoners of conscience, the only prisoners who AI demands should be immediately and unconditionally released, as well as people who resort to criminal violence for a political motive. In AI's use of the term, here are some examples of political prisoners:

  • a person accused or convicted of an ordinary crime carried out for political motives, such as murder or robbery carried out to support the objectives of an opposition group;
  • a person accused or convicted of an ordinary crime committed in a political context, such as at a demonstration by a trade union or a peasants' organization;
  • a member or suspected member of an armed opposition group who has been charged with treason or “subversion”.

Governments often say they have no political prisoners, only prisoners held under the normal criminal law. AI however describes cases like the examples given above as “political” and uses the terms “political trial” and “political imprisonment” when referring to them. But by doing so AI does not oppose the imprisonment, except where it further maintains that the prisoner is a prisoner of conscience, or condemn the trial, except where it concludes that it was unfair.

In the parlance of many political movements that utilize armed resistance, guerrilla warfare, and other forms of political violence, a political prisoner includes people who are imprisoned because they are awaiting trial for, or have been convicted of, actions which states they oppose describe as (accurately or otherwise) terrorism. These movements may consider the actions of political prisoners morally justified against some system of governance, may claim innocence, or have varying understandings of what types of violence are morally and ethically justified. For instance, French anarchist groups typically call the former members of Action Directe held in France political prisoners. While the French government deemed Action Directe illegal, the group fashioned itself as an urban guerilla movement, claiming a legitimate armed struggle. In this sense, "political prisoner" can be used to describe any politically active prisoner who is held in custody for a violent action which supporters deem ethically justified.

Some also include all convicted for treason and espionage in the category of political prisoners. Currently, there is still much controversy and debate around how to define this term and which cases to include or exclude.[2]

Political prisoners can also be imprisoned with no legal veneer by extrajudicial processes. Some political prisoners need not be imprisoned at all. Supporters of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in the 11th Panchen Lama controversy have called him a "political prisoner", despite the fact that he is not accused of a political offense. He is held under secluded house arrest.[3]

Political prisoners are also arrested and tried with a veneer of legality where false criminal charges, manufactured evidence, and unfair trials (kangaroo courts, show trials) are used to disguise the fact that an individual is a political prisoner. This is common in situations which may otherwise be decried nationally and internationally as a human rights violation or suppression of a political dissident. A political prisoner can also be someone that has been denied bail unfairly, denied parole when it would reasonably have been given to a prisoner charged with a comparable crime, or special powers may be invoked by the judiciary. Particularly in this latter situation, whether an individual is regarded as a political prisoner may depend upon subjective political perspective or interpretation of the evidence.[4]

Notable Groups of Political Prisoners


Famous historic political prisoners



  1. ^ "AI's FOCUS". Amnesty International. Retrieved April 5, 2012.

  2. ^ Prof. Tatiana Bur-ud-ji-eva. "Who can be defined as political prisoner". Europost.bg. Retrieved 2013-01-25.

  3. ^ "Tibet's missing spiritual guide". BBC News. May 16, 2005. Retrieved May 3, 2010.

  4. ^ "The recognition of political prisoners: essential to democratic and national reconciliation process". Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma). November 9, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2012.

  5. ^ "The Hidden Gulag – Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps". The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. Retrieved September 21, 2012.

  6. ^ "Convicts to Australia". Retrieved August 20, 2012.

  7. ^ "Top 10 Political Prisoners". TIME. 2010-08-15. Retrieved 2011-01-01. "Full List FREEDOM FIGHTERS: Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, Akbar Ganji, Benigno Aquino Jr., Ho Chi Minh"

  8. ^ Weaver, Mary Anne (2003). Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan. Macmillan Publishers. p. 73. "Benazir Bhutto... was under house arrest at the time of her father's death; Zia made her a political prisoner for four years"

  9. ^ Germino, Dante L. (1990). Antonio Gramsci: Architect of a New Politics. Louisiana State University Press. p. 23. "Gramsci carried with him from his Sardinian upbringing two qualities that were to enable him to stand... his long years as a political prisoner in Benito Mussolini's Italy"

  10. ^ Kim, Jack (2009-08-18). "Former South Korean leader Kim Dae-jung dies". Seoul: Reuters. Retrieved 2011-01-01. "The former political prisoner, once sentenced to death under one of the country's early military rulers whom he relentlessly opposed, was elected South Korea's president in December 1997 on his fourth attempt."

  11. ^ The Struggle Continues 5 (11). Spin. February 1990. "The chimurenga of Thomas Mapfumo has made him both a pop star and political prisoner in Zimbabwe"



tokyo university Daw Aung San Su Kyi's Lecture (tun wai tokyo)



Υ.Γ.: η φωτό από εδώ και τα λήμματα από εδώ και εδώ.

Τελευταία Ενημέρωση στις Κυριακή, 06 Απρίλιος 2014 19:11