Laos, Hmong Prison Hell: St. Paul Americans, Students Still Jailed
"I just want answers from the Laos government about where my husband, Hakit Yang, and his two Hmong companions from St. Paul, Minnesota, are being held in Laos and what has happened to them," said Sheng Xiong, a Hmong-American from St. Paul, Minnesota.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Bangkok, Thailand and Washington, D.C. Pregnant British citizen Samantha Orobator’s slated release today from the notorious Phonthong Prison in Laos by authorities of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) and return to the United Kingdom, highlights ongoing concerns about the secret Laos’ prison and gulag system. Many foreigners and political and religious dissidents continue to be held in harsh conditions without charge or without due process in the LPDR, including three American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota.
“Samantha Orobator’s release should be a reminder to the international and human rights community about the Lao student pro-democracy leaders, American and British citizens and Hmong from the United States and Thailand who continue to be imprisoned in Laos, where many have disappeared into the secret Lao gulag and penal system,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C. “Samantha Orobator’s release, after intense diplomatic negotiations by the United Kingdom with the LPDR regime, highlights the ongoing serious plight of those imprisoned in Laos, including three Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota as well as Lao student leaders of the October 1999 Movement for Democracy, British citizen John Watson and others; Indeed, much more should be done by the United States, including U.S. Ambassador Ravic Huso, to seek the humane treatment and release of these and other prisoners, dissidents and foreign investors now jailed in Laos.” http://fra.controlarms.org/library/Index/ENGASA260042000?open&of=ENG-LAO
Danes was joined in Washington, D.C. visit by Hmong-American spokesperson Sheng Xiong, wife of Hakit Yang, a U.S. citizen from St. Paul, Minnesota, who was arrested and jailed in Laos in 1997 by LPDR military and security forces along with two additional Hmong- American citizens, in the same group traveling to Laos from St. Paul for tourism and business investment opportunities. Hakit Yang and the three Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul, like Kay Danes and her husband, were also imprisoned in Phonthong Prison. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1089564.html
In Washington, D.C., Kay Danes released further information regarding the current whereabouts in Laos of Hakit Yang and the Hmong citizens of the United States in Laos where they are being held in a secret prison by LPDR officials.
Edmund McWilliams a retired Senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer, who served at the U.S. Department of State and the Embassies in Bangkok, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos, issued a statement at the Lao policy events in Washington, D.C. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1089605.html
“I just want answers from the Lao government about where my husband, Hakit Yang, and his two Hmong companions from St. Paul, Minnesota, are being held in Laos and what has happened to them,” said Sheng Xiong, a Hmong-American from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Hundreds of Hmong refugees and asylums seekers forcibly repatriated from Thailand back to Laos by the Thai military in 2008, from Huay Nam Khao camp in Petchabun Province, have also been imprisoned, disappeared or have been summarily executed in Laos without due process by the LPDR regime.
According to Boon Boualaphanh, a Lao community of Minnesota and member of the United League for Democracy in Laos ( ULDL ),; “We want to know why Hakit Yang and the two other Lao Hmong-Americans from St. Paul, Minnesota, who were arrested and imprisoned in Laos in 2007 have not been released yet by the LPDR regime and we want to know why their families have not been allowed to visit them yet ? They should be immediately released by the Lao government so they can return to their families in Minnesota.”
Mr. Boualaphanh continued: “The Lao Community and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the United League for Democracy in Laos also want, and are calling for, the immediate release of Mr. Keuakorm Thongpraseuth who was a student at the demonstrations on October 26, 1999, in Vientiane, Laos in support of democratic and economic change and political reform in Laos. He was arrested by LPDR security police and Lao military forces along with the other student demonstrators in October 1999. Why is still being held in jail in Laos with many of the other students and their families who were peacefully protesting against the corrupt LPDR communist regime and its monopoly on political power ?”
“Others who have disappeared in the Lao communist prison, gulag and reeducation system include Mr. Phengphongsavanh and the following Royal Lao generals and officers; Bounpone Marktheppharack, Nonphet Daoheuang, Banlang and Thaoly,” Boon Bouaaphanh continued. http://media-newswire.com/release_1090990.html
Sharing the sentiments of many Laotians, regarding the LPDR regime’s secret imprisonment of the Royal Lao King and Queen, who have also mysteriously disappeared in the Lao gulag and prison system at the hands of LPDR military and security forces in 1975, Mr. Boualaphanh continued: “We are also calling upon the United Nations and international human rights organizations to help locate the King and Queen of Laos, who were loved by the people of the Kingdom of Laos, and who disappeared at the hands of the Lao communist officials and were imprisoned. Where are the King and Queen of Laos ?
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