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Laos' Secret Prison Camps: Hmong Appeal

Laos' Secret Prison Camps: Hmong Appeal for Families

Hmong families from St. Paul, Minnesota and across the United States are appealing for the release of their relatives held in a secret nextwork of prisons and camps in Laos by the Lao Peoples Army (LPA). In the last several days, a team of Australian journalists from “The Age” was barred from entering a secret prison, surrounded by razor wire and LPA troops in the Paksan area of Sayabouri Province. There thousands of Hmong refugees from Thailand’s Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai were recently forcibly repatriated.

“In the emergency context of the current Lao Hmong refugee crisis, we are seeking to highlight and discuss these secret prisons and the clandestine gulag system in Laos that has been confirmed by Australian human rights advocates, journalists and others recently,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA).

"Thousands of Lao Hmong refugees, and many political and religious prisoners, including Lao student leaders, are being held in secret prisons and detention camps in Laos that are part of a nation-wide network in various provinces," said Smith.

"Three Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota, including Mr. Hakit Yang, also continue to be jailed in a secret prison complex in Sam Nuea Province according to reliable sources; significant numbers of the Laotian and Hmong prisoners and refugees have disappeared or have suffered beatings, torture and abuse in recent years, including known cases of summary executions in 2007-2009," Smith explained.

“Minnesota Twin Cities’ Hmong families have joined others from California, Wisconsin and other states in appealing for the release of their relatives held in a network of secret prisons and camps in various provinces in Laos,” Smith concluded.

Over 4500 Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers were recently forcibly repatriated from Thailand to Laos Thousands are being held in secret prisons and detention camps in Laos. Over 8,000 Hmong were forced from Thailand back to Laos from 2007-09 by the Thai military.

“As a Hmong-American, and the wife of Hakit Yang, I still have not received concrete answers from the Lao government about the arrest and disappearance of my husband; He is still imprisoned in Laos since 2007 with his two Hmong citizen colleagues from St. Paul, Minnesota,” said Mrs. Sheng Xiong wife of Hakit Yang.

Mr. Hakit Yang and two other Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul were arrested by Lao military and security forces in August of 2007 and later imprisoned in Vientiane’s notorious Phonthong Prison before their transfer to Sam Neua Province

“We are requesting and respectfully ask for the Lao government to immediately provide access to my husband for visitation by our family and release Hakit Yang and the other American citizens from St. Paul that they have held for nearly three years without charges or due process," concluded Mrs. Xiong.

‘I would like to raise my continued growing concerns for the three U.S. Citizens that went missing in Laos August 25th, 2007, following arrest,” said Kay Danes, Advocate, with the Foreign Prisoner Support Service (FPSS). “These men have not returned to the United States, to their families.” . http://www.live-pr.com/en/secret-prisons-in-laos-hold-hakit-r1048311013.htm

Kay Danes and her husband were jailed in Laos in brutal conditions as political prisoners. Danes is the author of the book “Standing Ground” (New Holland) that details torture and horrific conditions in Lao prisons and detention centers. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1089564.html

“Over the last three years, political analysts have painstakingly documented evidence that supports the ongoing persecution of Lao Hmong and Political Prisoners in secret detention centres throughout Laos. It is a broadly accepted view held by the International Community that the Lao Hmong Refugees will face similar persecution, arbitrary detention, torture, and possibly death, if forced back to Laos. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Foreign Prisoner Support Service have independently reported returnee abuse in Laos” said Danes who was tortured in Laos. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1108993.html

ENDS

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