Friday, May 15, 2009

PAKISTAN: JOURNALISTS FLEE SWAT VALLEY




Swat Valley











PAKISTAN
: JOURNALISTS FLEE SWAT VALLEY

Only a few journalists are left in Pakistan's restive Swat Valley to cover
the government's military offensive against the Taliban, according to
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), as well as news reports on the website of
the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF).

RSF reports that national newspapers are no longer being distributed for
safety reasons. Swat residents no longer have access to satellite
television since the Taliban damaged the district's only cable distribution
network, and journalists are fleeing the area out of fear for their safety.

The authorities have introduced a curfew in Swat and neighbouring districts
in a bid to stop the Taliban from reinforcing their positions in the
region.

"It is now impossible to get independently-sourced information about what
is happening in Swat Valley," RSF said.

Ghulam Farooq, the editor of the local daily "Shamal", told RSF, "All the
newspapers based in Swat have stopped publishing for security reasons,
because the situation is extremely dangerous. What's more, the curfew makes
it impossible for our staff to move about." According to news reports,
Farooq and his family have fled Swat.

Swat Press Club president Salahuddin Khan told reporters that journalists
had left the valley. "We are leaving Swat as we are under direct threat
from all sides," he said. Khan advised all journalists choosing to stay in
Mingora, Swat's main city, to work from home.

RSF is demanding the Pakistani authorities give journalists better
protection and permits "that allow them to circulate during curfew hours so
that they are able to do their job."

Visit these links:
- Journalists flee Swat Valley en masse (RSF):
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=31276
- PPF website: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/


Earlier Mosa Khankhel was reporting for GEO TV when he was killed.

IRAN: ROXANA SABERI FREED
















IRAN
: ROXANA SABERI FREED

IFEX members welcomed the release of U.S. Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi,
whose eight-year jail term for spying for the U.S. was this week reduced to
a suspended two-year sentence and a five-year ban on reporting from Iran.

Her fiancé, filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi, her parents and her lawyers greeted
her as she emerged from Tehran's Evin prison on 11 May. Her father told
reporters she would be leaving the country in the coming days.

"This is excellent news," Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said. "The appeal
court's decision to free her can be used as a legal precedent for other
journalists currently detained in Iran."

In a closed-door session that lasted five hours, a Tehran court heard
Saberi's appeal against her original eight-year sentence on 10 May.
Although exact details about the charges against Saberi have still not been
made public, the BBC reported that the initial charge of "passing secret
information" had been reduced to "having access to classified information,"
allowing for the commuted sentence.

Saberi's case sparked international attention. IFEX members mounted
vigorous campaigns for her release. The Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ) circulated a petition calling for Saberi's release that garnered more
than 10,000 signatures, and along with 34 other IFEX members called on
Iran's judiciary to free her. U.S. President Barack Obama was among those
who appealed on her behalf.

Saberi has been held in Tehran's Evin prison since her arrest in January.
Living in Iran since 2003, the Fargo, North Dakota native had freelanced
for several news organisations, including NPR and the BBC.

IFEX members continue to call on the Iranian government to safeguard the
rights of other journalists currently in jail. According to RSF, six
journalists and cyber-dissidents were arrested on 1 May in Tehran during
May Day demonstrations.

Visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/103001
- Roxana Saberi released from prison (CPJ): http://tinyurl.com/pzwkq7
- Iran frees jailed journalist (Human Rights Watch):
http://www.hrw.org/en/node/83044
- American-Iranian journalist released (WiPC): http://tinyurl.com/pjbapm


Vietnam: ARTICLE 19 Assists with Drafting Freedom of Information Law


Vietnam: ARTICLE 19 Assists with Drafting Freedom of Information Law

ARTICLE has been working with the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice, which is drafting a right to information law, to help ensure that the draft is as consistent as possible with international standards and best national practice. To this end, ARTICLE 19 has hosted a team of Vietnamese experts in London and participated in meetings in Vietnam, and is providing ongoing technical legal assistance to the drafting team.

The Government of Vietnam has made a high-level commitment to adopt right to information (freedom of information) legislation as a matter of priority and a team lead by the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice has been working on preparing a draft law. The team contacted ARTICLE 19 in January 2009 asking for assistance.

A group of eight members of the drafting team, led by Dr. Hoàng Thế Liên, First Deputy Minister of Justice, was hosted by ARTICLE 19 in the United Kingdom from 15-21 March 2009. The team visited various government departments, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Archives, as well as various non-governmental organisations and academics. The purpose of the visit was to expose the team to experiences in the United Kingdom on the right to information.

ARTICLE 19 has been providing legal drafting support to the team. A detailed analysis of an early draft of the law (which has since been revised) was produced in April 2009. ARTICLE 19 is providing ongoing legal support to the drafting team, and will continue to do so as new drafts are produced. Finally, Toby Mendel, ARTICLE 19’s Senior Legal Counsel, participated in an International Workshop on Drafting a Law on Access to Information in Vietnam from 6-7 May 2009. Participants at the Workshop included government officials, academics and representatives of civil society organisations.

ARTICLE 19 strongly supports the development by Vietnam of a right to information law. We urge the authorities to ensure that the law which is finally adopted is consistent with international standards in this area.

NOTES TO EDITORS:


• The Analysis is available at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/analysis/vietnam-memorandum-on-the-draft-law-on-access-to-information.pdf
• The English outline of the law can be found at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/laws/vietnam-law-on-access-to-information.pdf
• For more information, please contact Toby Mendel, Senior Legal Counsel, a19law@hfx.eastlink.ca, +1 902 431-3688.

ARTICLE 19 Wins Key Case at UN Human Rights Committee


ARTICLE 19 Wins Key Case at UN Human Rights Committee

On 19 March 2009, the UN Human Rights Committee issued its decision in the case of Mavlonov and Sa’di v. Uzbekistan, which ARTICLE lodged with the Committee in November 2004. In the case, ARTICLE 19 argued that the refusal of the Uzbek authorities to re-register the first applicant’s newspaper was a breach of his right to freedom of expression, and also a breach of the second applicant’s right as a reader of the newspaper. The Committee accepted both arguments, with important implications in terms of the right to freedom of expression.

In finding a breach of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Committee stated:

[The first applicant’s] ability to publish ‘Oina’ and to impart information, and [the second applicant’s] right to receive information and ideas in print, has been violated.

The Committee also found a breach of the right to culture, as protected by Article 27 of the ICCPR, given the important role of Oina, a minority language newspaper, in the Tajik community.

ARTICLE 19 applauds this decision by the UN Human Rights Committee, which is groundbreaking in several respects. The Committee held that the application of the registration procedure itself breached the right to freedom of expression. While the Committee did not specifically elaborate on what conditions registration systems must meet, the decision is important inasmuch as it clearly demonstrates that registration must not impose unreasonable barriers to the operation of media outlets. Even more important was the recognition by the Committee of the right of the second applicant, as a reader. This is an extremely significant development and potentially opens up the way to a whole new line of freedom of expression argumentation.

NOTES TO EDITORS:


• For more information, please contact Toby Mendel, ARTICLE 19 Senior Legal Counsel, a19law@hfx.eastlink.ca, +1 902 431-3688.

Mexico: Murder of Fourth Journalist in the Year Demonstrates Urgent Need for Legal Reform

Mexico: Murder of Fourth Journalist in the Year Demonstrates Urgent Need for Legal Reform

On World Press Freedom Day, Carlos Ortega Melo Samper a journalist from the newspaper El Tiempo de Durango in northern Mexico was assassinated. At the time of his death he had been undertaking investigations of alleged acts of corruption. ARTICLE 19 calls for immediate legal reforms to give the federal-level government the authority to investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.

On Sunday 3 May at 5 o’clock in the evening, a pick-up truck intercepted Carlos Ortega Melo Samper outside his home in the state of Durango in northern Mexico. The perpetrator fired his 40 caliber pistol three times from the truck, hitting Ortega in the head and killing him. The journalist had been working as a correspondent for the local newspaper El Tiempo for two years; he also worked as a lawyer in the municipality.

In an interview with ARTICLE 19, Fernando Mendoza who works for El Tiempo said that: “the first line of investigation for this assassination should be for the journalistic activity of Melo Samper and in particular his recent investigation of the sanitary conditions in the municipal slaughterhouse.Mendoza added that the staff of El Tiempo had held a meeting with the Governor of the State of Durango, Ismael Alfredo Hernandez Deras, to discuss the investigation.

Melo Samper had complained about threats by local authorities as recently as two weeks prior to his death, for a story he had written on the sanitary conditions in the local state run slaughterhouse. As a result of this incident, before he died he wrote an article in which he stated that mayor of the municipality Martín Silvestre Herrera and Juan Manuel Calderón Guzmán, in charge of federal programmes and the municipal slaughterhouse, were responsible should any harm come to him. This article was in the editorial department of the paper awaiting publication at the time of his murder.

Carlos Ortega’s case sadly underscores the need of providing federal authorities with the power and the capacity to investigate and sanction aggressions against journalists, particularly in cases, such as this one, where the local authorities are known to have previously harassed or threatened the victim”, stated Dr Agnès Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

The Mexican authorities must immediately undertake the much required legal and policy reform that would at least address the salient problem of impunity for crimes against the media”, Dr Callamard added.

The journalist had been at odds with local authorities for a number of years. In July 2005, following a formal complaint, the State Commission of Human Rights for Durango investigated high ranking members the of the local Public Security forces. The Commission concluded that elements of the public Security Forces had violated the journalist’s human rights.

Ortega was famous for his critical writing in the municipality. Since 2003, he worked on a number of local and regional newspapers, including El Sol de Torreón and El Siglo de Durango. Since 2008, he had been writing in El Tiempo as a correspondent and distributor. He contributed to the paper on a daily basis and was also writing for the weekly publication Expresión de Durango. Ortega had been living in the area for more than 10 years.

The assassination of journalists is the ultimate form of censorship. Local media and journalists play a pivotal role in informing society about subjects that are relevant to the local communities. Without a media able to operate freely and without fear, society is prevented from accessing information essential to decision-making and participating in the public life and local affairs.

ARTICLE 19 expresses its solidarity with colleagues, friends, and collaborators of the newspaper El Tiempo, and with the journalists in the region.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the authorities, in accordance with their international obligations, to investigate effectively the murder and prosecute those responsible.

NOTES TO EDITORS:


• For more information: please contact Ricardo González, Official of Program for Freedom Expresión ricardo@article19.org

Yemen: Three injured as newspaper offices attacked


Yemen: Three injured as newspaper offices attacked

This morning police surrounded and opened fire on the offices of independent daily Yemeni newspaper Al Ayyam’s, resulting in injuries to three staff.


The shooting follows sustained police harassment since 4 May and the chief editor’s refusal to be arrested by police forces. Authorities have grown uneasy about the newspaper’s independent editorial line and its coverage of the events in the south of the country. Al Ayyam has not been able to go to print and its website has been blocked.

This might be my last phone call,” says Bashraheel Bashraheel, Al Ayyam general director on the phone to ARTICLE 19. “I appeal to all freedom advocates to support us and help in lifting the siege.

According to Bashraheel, Al Ayyam employees receive death threats on a daily basis and one of its designers, Yasser Hitari, has been menaced with having his head cut off.

We have reached out to the authorities but without any response,” Bashraheel says. “On the contrary, judicial orders have been issued to arrest my father Hisham at any cost.

Since 4 May, the Yemeni authorities have increased their stranglehold on the press. Al Ayam has had lawsuits filed against it and the authorities have repeatedly intercepted distribution trucks and burned the newspapers. Bashraheel says that Al Ayyam has incurred losses amounting to US$400,000 as a result of these measures.

The authorities are said to be unhappy with Al Ayyam’s publication of photos showing clashes between government forces and opposition groups in the south of Yemen.

Surrounding a newspaper and attacking it is an extraordinary step. Only in fully fledged armed conflicts do we witness such situations,” says Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “The attack must stop immediately. We demand that the Yemeni authorities lift the blockade on Al Ayyam and ensure the safety and security of all its staff.

Al Ayyam was established in 1958 and is based in the southern city of Aden. It is very popular and considered by many Yemenis as an independent newspaper, adding particular voice to underprivileged people.

Al Ayyam is not the only newspaper suffering harassment and censorship. A comprehensive crackdown on the media by the Yemeni authorities has included six other newspapers over the past month, thereby possibly preventing potential coverage of the conflict in the south. There has been widespread unrest in the impoverished country for several years, especially in the south, where certain groups feel they are marginalised. Tension mounted in recent months, escalating at times into armed clashes between opposition protesters and government forces.


NOTES TO EDITORS:


• For more information: please contact Sa’eda Kilani, sa’eda@article19.org; Tel:+962-79-9860004


Report from IFEX -------------




YEMEN: POLICE RAID PAPER, WOUND THREE

This morning (13 May) police surrounded and opened fire on the office of
Yemen's leading independent daily, the latest target of the government's
crackdown on the media, report the Arabic Network for Human Rights
Information (ANHRI), ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
and other IFEX members.

The government blames the media for fomenting unrest in the country's south
where the military has clashed with the Southern Movement opposition group.
Allegedly annoyed with "Al-Ayyam"'s coverage of the conflict and refusal to
toe the official line, police surrounded the paper's office in Aden on 13
May and opened fire, resulting in injuries to three staff members.

The shooting follows sustained police harassment since the beginning of
May, when police laid siege to the office, preventing distribution of all
70,000 copies of the paper and searching employees. The paper has not
resumed production.

Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the besieged paper's offices on 4
May to protest the government's action, with the police eventually
dispersing the demonstrators, reported the "Al-Ayyam" website. On 6 May,
the authorities shut the website down.

Lawsuits have been filed against "Al-Ayyam"'s staff, and authorities have
repeatedly confiscated and burned copies of the paper as well as harassed
the paper's distribution drivers, says ARTICLE 19. Employees have also
received threatening phone calls and notes.

"This might be my last phone call," said Bashraheel Bashraheel, "Al-Ayyam"
general director on the phone to ARTICLE 19. "I appeal to all freedom
advocates to support us and help in lifting the siege."

Bashraheel says that "Al-Ayyam" has incurred losses amounting to US$400,000
as a result of the measures.

Other newspapers have suffered government harassment. Last week,
authorities barred the sale of seven other papers - "Al-Masdar",
"Al-Wattani", "Al-Diyar", "Al-Mustaqila", "Al-Nida", and "Al-Share" and
"Al-Ahali" - to prevent coverage of the conflict in the south. According to
Minister of Information Hassan Ahmed, the newspapers had published material
that worked against national unity and the country's interests and that
"spread hatred and enmity among the united people of Yemen."

The police campaign against the Yemeni press and journalists came a few
days after President Ali Abdullah Saleh voiced his anger over what he
described as "the separatists of the south."

"There is an intense and dangerous campaign of incitement against
independent newspapers," Sami Ghali, editor of "Al-Nida", told CPJ. "Imams
of Yemeni mosques received instructions to welcome the government decisions
to suspend newspapers."

In a separate incident, on 4 May, security officers arrested Fuad Rashid,
the owner and publisher of the Al-Mukalla Press website, during a raid in
Mukalla, Hadramoot and took him to an unknown location. The website had
covered the recent clashes. Blogger Yahya Barnahfud was arrested on 10 May.

In another disturbing development, CPJ reports that authorities have
announced a special court to try media and publishing offences, amid
protests from journalists and human rights defenders. Minister of Justice
Ghazi Shayef Al-Aghbari said the decision to establish this "special press
court" was "not politically motivated, but purely professional."

According to CPJ, Abdel Karim al-Khaiwani, an independent journalist who
has repeatedly been harassed by the judiciary and imprisoned, described the
court as a "huge step backward" and a "flagrant violation of the
constitution and international law."

Arafat Mudabish, chief editor of Al Tagheer news website, said leading
journalists and activists in Yemen have regarded the confiscation measure
and harassment tactics against all media as an "unprecedented massacre" on
journalism in Yemen.

"The only solution to the problems of the South is through dialogue and
addressing the origin of the problems and not through muzzling the press
and terrorising journalists," said ANHRI.

Dissatisfied groups in the south of the country have increasingly accused
authorities of marginalising the region, which merged with the north in
1990. Since early April there have been sporadic armed clashes between
government forces and armed protesters in the south of the country,
including a 27 April protest in Sana'a marking the anniversary of a failed
uprising against the government in 1994. At least 14 Yemeni troops and
civilians were killed last week in the clashes, The Associated Press
reported.

Visit these links:
- ARTICLE 19: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/103038/
- CPJ: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/103026/
- ANHRI: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/102925/
- Breaking the Chains (International Federation of Journalists), a report
that features Yemen among countries where press laws criminalise
independent reporting under the guise of national interests:
http://mena.ifj.org/en/pages/mena-press-freedom
- Yemeni police storm newspaper, wound three (AP):
http://tinyurl.com/oa9z5e

Brazil: Lula Sends Access to Information Bill to Congress

13 May 2009

Brazil: Lula Sends Access to Information Bill to Congress

Brazilian President Lula da Silva today sent the long-awaited draft Access to Information Bill to the Brazilian National Congress. This is an important development that gives concrete form to the federal government’s stated commitment to adopt specific right to information legislation. The Bill seeks to implement Article 5 of Brazilian Constitution, which guarantees the right to information.


The draft Bill fulfils a commitment made by President Lula during his campaign for re-election in 2006, as well as historical demands by a range of civil society actors that have been calling for legislation to give proper effect to the constitutional guarantee. The Bill will now be reviewed by the two houses of Congress.

The Bill includes a number of positive measures, such as a list of information that must be disseminated on a proactive basis by public bodies, an obligation to respond to requests for information within 20 days, and coverage of information held not only by the executive, but also the legislative and the judicial branches of government. However, the text could still be significantly improved. A key problem is the failure of the Bill to establish an independent administrative oversight body to handle complaints and to promote effective implementation of the new law, a measure that has proven essential to successful opening up of government in other countries. ARTICLE 19 will soon release a detailed analysis of the draft Bill.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes this initiative as an important step towards promoting greater transparency in government. At the same time, it is unfortunate that a piece of legislation designed to promote greater participation was not the subject of broad consultation with citizens and civil society organisations before being sent to Congress. ARTICLE 19 further calls on the Brazilian Congress to make sure that there is extensive consultation with the public before the Bill is passed into law. We also urge Brazilian parliamentarians to ensure that the law which is adopted complies with international standards in this area.

NOTES TO EDITORS:


• For more information: please contact Paula Martins, paula@article19.org, +55 11 3057 0042

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi Facing Trial and Incarceration in Insein Prison


14 May 2009

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi Facing Trial and Incarceration in Insein Prison

Burmese democracy leader and de jure prime minister Aung San Suu Kyi has early this morning been taken from her home and incarcerated in Insein Prison, on a charge of breaching the conditions of her house arrest order.

ARTICLE 19 urges the international community, and in particular India, China and ASEAN, to pressure the Burmese military government not to continue Suu Kyi’s 13-year detention on the basis of these outrageous charges. The organisation also calls on interested stakeholders to write to newspapers editors in India to call attention to the Indian government’s role in propping up the illegitimate Burmese regime.


The National League for Democracy, the Burmese political party which Suu Kyi leads, says that she faces an immediate trial on Monday 18 May. Under section 22 of the State Protection Act, Suu Kyi faces up to five years in prison.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for almost 14 of the last 19 years at her home in Rangoon. Last week, an American citizen, John William Yettaw, swam across Inya Lake and entered Suu Kyi’s house uninvited and without being stopped by guards. According to Suu Kyi’s lawyer U Kyi Win, Yettaw begged Suu Kyi not to alert her captors of his presence and allow him to stay while he recovered from a muscle strain.

According to Burmese law, it is mandatory to notify the military authorities about any overnight visitor and foreigners are not allowed to spend the night in a Burmese home. The State Protection Act is frequently used against democratic activists, and other members of Suu Kyi’s party have been imprisoned for similar offences.

Last week, Suu Kyi’s appeal against her imprisonment was rejected, even though, under the legislation used to detain her, her detention should end on 27 May 2009. The United Nations has declared that her imprisonment is not only illegal under international law, but also illegal under the Burmese military government’s own deplorable legal code, which only allows for a maximum of five-years in detention.

The Burmese military government is blaming a prisoner for somebody breaking into a prison,” comments Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “This would be laughable if it was not so unbelievably sad.

Every month that passes, we think that repression in Burma cannot get worse but it always does. The treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi by the authorities, in full sight of the country’s neighbours and various economic backers, is just sickening Worse still are the excuses and diplomatic games played by India, China and the ASEAN. By their silence and inaction, they are condoning the behaviour of the Burmese military junta. They are the walls and bars of Suu Kyi’s prison,” she adds.

Yettaw was arrested whilst swimming back across the lake and remains in Burmese prison, charged with entering a restricted area and contravening immigration regulations. His motives remain unclear, although there are reports that he is a Mormon who is writing a book about heroism and who intended to come into Suu Kyi’s house to pray with her. He is apparently not a Burma campaigner, as was originally described.

Suu Kyi is in poor health and has recently been on an intravenous drip. Her doctors have repeatedly been prevented from giving her the care she requires and her personal physician was arrested a few weeks ago.

ARTICLE 19 is also concerned about the seeming disappearance of John William Yettaw and calls upon the Burmese authorities to ensure that he is afforded access to proper legal representation and a fair trial.

ARTICLE 19 is urging interested stakeholders and anybody committed to the protection of human rights to write to one of the following India newspapers asking the editor to call attention to their government’s role in propping up the illegitimate Burmese regime:


Please inform ARTICLE 19 of any actions that you may take.

NOTES TO EDITORS:


• For more information: please contact Oliver Spencer, oliver@article19.org +44 20 7278 9292


From International PEN

MYANMAR: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (f), leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and writer, taken to prison


14 May 2009

RAN 29/07 - Update #1

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) is outraged by the charges of ‘subversion' brought today against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), writer and Nobel Peace laureate, for allegedly breaching the conditions of her house arrest. She was taken from her Yangon home, where she has been held under house arrest for most of the past nineteen years, to Insein Prison early this morning. Earlier this month Aung San Suu Kyi was treated for dehydration and low blood pressure, and although her condition is said to have improved, concerns for her well-being are now mounting. PEN protests her detention, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release alongside all others detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to PEN's information, Aung San Suu Kyi was taken from her home, where she was being held under house arrest, to the notorious Insein Prison in Yangon early on the morning of 14 May 2009. Suu Kyi and two members of her house staff are detained under Section 22 of the State Protection Law for "subversion", following an incident in which a US citizen reportedly swam across the lake to her home and in doing so violated the ban on her meeting with anyone without prior permission. For more details go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8049187.stm

Aung San Suu Kyi is due to stand trial on 18 May 2009, and she could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

Background
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Burma's independence hero General Aung San, became leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in September 1988, and in 1991 led the NLD to a landslide election victory which has never been recognised by the military government. Prior to this she had lived in the UK for many years, where she raised two sons with her late husband British academic Michael Aris, who died in March 1999 of cancer. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent a large part of the past eighteen years in detention in Yangon, much of it in solitary confinement. She was held under de facto house arrest for six years from July 1989-July 1995, and again from September 2000 until May 2002, when she was released as part of UN-brokered confidential talks between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the NLD which began in October 2000. Her most recent detention began when she was taken into ‘protective custody' following violent clashes between her supporters and those of the government on 30 May 2003, and she has since been held under renewable one-year detention orders.

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1991. She is the author of many books, including Freedom From Fear (1991), Letters from Burma (1997), The Voice of Hope (1997).

International PEN WiPC protests the detention of writer and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who it considers to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We call upon the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to show its commitment to political dialogue in Myanmar by securing the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all others detained in Myanmar for the peaceful expression of their views.


Please send appeals:

protesting the detention of opposition leader and writer Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Expressing concerns for her health, and seeking immediate assurances of her well-being.

Appeals to:

Senior General Than Shwe
Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
c/o Ministry of Defence, Naypyitaw, Union of Myanmar.
Salutation: Dear General

Appeals to Myanmar (Burma) Embassies:

WiPC strongly recommends that you copy your appeal to the Burmese embassy in your country asking them to forward it to the Burmese authorities and welcoming any comments.

Letters to the press:

PEN members may consider writing letters to their national newspapers expressing alarm at events in Burma, and highlighting Aung San Suu Kyi's case to illustrate the many years of repression in the country.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk

Three Depressed terrorists

Three Depressed terrorists
Terrorism is inhuman act, an evil concept
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