There were 118 journalists in prison around the world at the end of 2001 who were jailed for practicing their profession. The number is up significantly from the previous year, when 81 journalists were in jail, and represents a return to the level of 1998, when 118 were also imprisoned.
In January 2002, CPJ sent letters of inquiry to the head of state of every country on the list below, requesting information about each jailed journalist. Readers are encouraged to add their voices to CPJ’s by writing directly to the heads of state, whose names and addresses can be found on this Web site.
Our census of imprisoned journalists represents a snapshot of all the journalists who were incarcerated when the clock struck midnight on December 31. It does not include the many journalists who were imprisoned and released during the year; accounts of those cases can be found in the regional sections of this book.
A word about how this list is compiled: In totalitarian societies where independent journalism is forbidden, CPJ often defends persecuted writers whose governments would view them as political dissidents rather than journalists. This category would embrace the samizdat publishers of the former Soviet Union and the wall-poster essayists of the pre-Tiananmen period in China. We also include political analysts, human rights activists, and others who were prosecuted because of their written or broadcast work.
CPJ uses a broad definition of the term “imprisoned.” We consider all journalists held forcibly against their will by governments, guerrillas, or kidnappers to be imprisoned. For example, we include two Algerian journalists, Djamel Eddine Fahassi and Aziz Bouabdallah, who were apparently abducted by government agents in 1995 and 1997, respectively. While there is no information about their whereabouts, CPJ continues to hold the Algerian government responsible for their fate.
CPJ does not include “missing” journalists on this list, but we monitor all such cases. For example, we continue to demand that Belarus account for the disappearance of TV news cameraman Dmitry Zavadsky, who vanished in July 2000. n
Djamel Eddine Fahassi, Alger Chaîne III
Imprisoned: May 6, 1995
Fahassi, a reporter for the state-run radio station Alger Chaîne III and a contributor to several Algerian newspapers, including the now banned weekly of the Islamic Salvation Front Al-Forqane, was abducted near his home in the al-Harrache suburb of Algiers by four well-dressed men carrying walkie-talkies. According to eyewitnesses who later spoke with his wife, the men called out Fahassi’s name and then pushed him into a waiting car. He has not been seen since, and Algerian authorities have denied any knowledge of his arrest.
Prior to Fahassi’s “disappearance,” Algerian authorities targeted him on at least two occasions because his writing criticized the government. In late 1991, he was arrested after an article in Al-Forqane criticized a raid conducted by security forces on an Algiers neighborhood. On January 1, 1992, the Blida Military Court convicted him of disseminating false information, attacking a state institution, and disseminating information that could harm national unity.
He received a one-year suspended sentence and was released after five months. On February 17, 1992, he was arrested a second time for allegedly attacking state institutions and spreading false information. He was transferred to the Ain Salah Detention Center in southern Algeria, where hundreds of Islamic suspects were detained in the months following the cancellation of the January 1992 elections.
In late January 2002, Algerian ambassador to the U.S. Idriss Jazairy responded to a CPJ query saying an investigation was launched and did not find those responsible. The ambassador added there was no evidence of state involvement.
Aziz Bouabdallah, Al-Alam al-Siyassi
Imprisoned: April 12, 1997
Three armed men abducted Bouabdallah, a 22-year-old reporter for the daily Al-Alam al-Siyassi, from his home in Algiers. According to Bouabdallah’s family, the men stormed into their home and, after identifying the journalist, grabbed him, put his hands behind his back, and pushed him out the door and into a waiting car. An article published in the daily El-Watan a few days after his abduction reported that Bouabdallah was in police custody and was expected to be released imminently.
In July 1997, CPJ received credible information that Bouabdallah was being held at the Châteauneuf detention facility in Algiers, where he had been tortured. Bouabdallah’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Authorities have denied any knowledge of his abduction.
In late January 2002, Algerian ambassador to the U.S. Idriss Jazairy responded to a CPJ query saying an investigation was launched and did not find those responsible. The ambassador added there was no evidence of state involvement.
Shahriar Kabir, free-lancer
Imprisoned: November 22, 2001
On November 22, police at Dhaka’s Zia International Airport arrested Kabir when he returned to Bangladesh from India, where he had interviewed minority Bangladeshi Hindus who fled there following attacks against their community after Bangladesh’s October 1 parliamentary elections. Kabir–a documentary filmmaker, regular contributor to the national Bengali-language daily Janakantha, and author of several books about Bangladesh’s war for independence–was arrested for “anti-state activities on the basis of intelligence reports and at the instruction of higher authorities,” according to a police report. Police seized his passport, five videotapes, 13 audiotapes, several rolls of unprocessed film, and his camera, according to news reports.
A November 25 statement issued by the Home Ministry alleged that Kabir was “involved in a heinous bid to tarnish the image of Bangladesh and its government,” according to a report published by The Daily Star, a leading national paper. “Kabir had made a whirlwind tour across India with ulterior motives to shoot video films,” it said, noting that the video footage and other materials seized from Kabir upon his arrest were “objectionable, misleading, instigating and provocative to destroy communal harmony.” That same day, a district magistrate’s court authorized the government to detain Kabir for up to 30 days under the provisions of Bangladesh’s Special Powers Act. Authorities in Bangladesh frequently abuse this act, which allows for the arbitrary arrest and detention of any citizen suspected of engaging in activities that threaten national security.
On December 8, the government charged Kabir with treason. His detention was later extended by another three months.
On January 12, 2002, in response to a habeas corpus petition, a High Court bench declared the extension of Kabir’s term of detention to be illegal and ordered the journalist’s release. However, Kabir continued to be held on the treason charge. On January 19, a separate High Court bench ordered Kabir to be released on interim bail for six months, pending his treason trial. The High Court also issued a “show cause” notice to the government asking prosecutors to demonstrate why Kabir should not be granted permanent bail.
On January 20, authorities released Kabir from Dhaka Central Jail, where he was greeted by hundreds of colleagues, relatives, and other supporters. At press time, the government had not dropped the treason charge against Kabir, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of death.
U Win Tin, free-lancer
Imprisoned: July 4, 1989
U Win Tin, former editor-in-chief of the daily Hanthawati and vice chairman of Burma’s Writers Association, was arrested and sentenced to three years of hard labor on the false charge of arranging a “forced abortion” for a member of the opposition National League for Democracy. A well-known and influential journalist, U Win Tin was active in establishing independent publications during the 1988 student democracy movement. He also worked closely with National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and was one of her closest advisers.
In 1992, he was sentenced to an additional 10 years for “writing and publishing pamphlets to incite treason against the State” and “giving seditious talks,” according to a report published in May 2000 by the Defense Ministry’s Office of Strategic Studies. On March 28, 1996, prison authorities extended U Win Tin’s sentence by another seven years after they convicted him, along with at least 22 others, of producing clandestine publications–including a report describing the horrific conditions of Rangoon’s Insein Prison to Yozo Yokota, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Burma.
U Win Tin was charged under Section 5(e) of the Emergency Provisions Act for having “secretly published anti-government propaganda to create riots in jail,” according to the Defense Ministry report. His cumulative sentence is, therefore, 20 years of hard labor and imprisonment.
U Win Tin is said to be in extremely poor health after years of maltreatment in Burma’s prisons–including a period when he was kept in solitary confinement in one of Insein Prison’s notorious “dog cells,” formerly used as a kennel for the facility’s guard dogs. He has told international observers that he is suffering from spondylitis, a degenerative spine disease. A politician interviewed by the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma in August 2001 said that U Win Tin had suffered from a stroke and has heart problems, and that he had recently undergone emergency surgery for a hernia.
Ohn Kyaing, free-lancer
Thein Tan, free-lancer
Imprisoned: September 6, 1990
On September 7, 1990, Col. Than Tun, Burma’s deputy chief of military intelligence, announced at a press conference that Ohn Kyaing and Thein Tan were among six leaders of the opposition National League for Democracy arrested on the previous day, according to international news reports.
On October 19, the Information Committee of the junta (then known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council and later renamed the State Peace and Development Council) announced at a press conference that Ohn Kyaing and Thein Tan “had been sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a military tribunal for inciting unrest by writing false reports about the unrest which occurred in Mandalay on 8 August 1990,” according to the BBC’s translation of a state radio broadcast.
The Mandalay “unrest” referred to by the committee involved the killing of four pro-democracy demonstrators by the military. Government troops had fired on demonstrators–who were commemorating the democracy rallies of August 8, 1988, when hundreds were shot dead–killing two monks and two students.
Ohn Kyaing, who also used the name Aung Wint, is the former editor of the newspaper Botahtaung and one of Burma’s most famous, well-respected journalists. He retired from Botahtaung in December 1988, according to the PEN American Center, to become more involved in the pro-democracy movement. In 1990, Ohn Kyaing was elected as a member of parliament for the National League for Democracy (NLD), representing a district in Mandalay. (The results of the elections, which the NLD won, were never honored by the military junta.) A leading intellectual, he continued to write as an extension of his political activities.
Thein Tan, whose name is sometimes written as Thein Dan, was also a free-lance writer and political activist associated with the NLD.
PEN reported that in mid-1991, Ohn Kyaing received an additional sentence of 10 years in prison under the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act for his involvement in drafting a pamphlet for the NLD titled “The Three Paths to Power.” Thein Tan also received an additional 10-year sentence, according to Amnesty International, presumably for the same reason.
In a list of Burmese political prisoners published in April 2001, Amnesty International reported that the sentences of both men were reduced to 10 years on January 1, 1993. However, Ohn Kyaing and Thein Tan remained in prison at the end of 2001. Ohn Kyaing was jailed at Taungoo Prison, and Thein Tan was jailed at Thayet Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.
Maung Maung Lay Ngwe, Pe-Tin-Than
Imprisoned: September 1990
Maung Maung Lay Ngwe was arrested and charged with writing and distributing publications that “make people lose respect for the government.” The publications were titled, collectively, Pe-Tin-Than (Echoes). CPJ believes he may have been released but could not confirm his legal status or find records of his sentencing.
Myo Myint Nyein, Pe-Phu-Hlwar
Sein Hlaing, Pe-Phu-Hlwar
Imprisoned: September 1990
Myo Myint Nyein, editor of the magazine Pe-Phu-Hlwar, and Sein Hlaing, the magazine’s publisher, were arrested for publishing a pamphlet featuring a satirical poem by Nyan Paw titled “Bar Dwae Phyit Kon Byi Lae” (What’s Happening To Us?), which the Burmese junta claimed was anti-government propaganda. They were sentenced to seven years in prison. On March 28, 1996, they were among at least 22 other prisoners accused of contributing to clandestine publications, including a report describing prison conditions that was delivered to Yozo Yokota, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Burma. After a summary trial inside Insein Prison, they each received sentences of an additional seven years. Myo Myint Nyein was granted an early release on February 13, 2002.
Sein Hla Oo, free-lancer
Imprisoned: August 5, 1994
Sein Hla Oo, a free-lance journalist and former editor of the newspaper Botahtaung, was arrested along with dissident writer San San Nwe on charges of contacting anti-government groups and spreading information damaging to the state. On October 6, 1994, Sein Hla Oo was sentenced to 10 years in prison. San San Nwe and three other dissidents, including a former UNICEF worker, received sentences of seven to 15 years in prison on similar charges.
Officials said the five had “fabricated and sent anti-government reports” to diplomats in foreign embassies, foreign radio stations, and foreign journalists. Sein Hla Oo, elected in 1990 as a member of parliament representing the National League for Democracy (NLD), had been imprisoned previously for his political activities.
Though San San Nwe was granted early release in July 2001 along with 10 other political prisoners associated with the NLD, Sein Hla Oo remained in jail at the end of 2001. He was held at Myitkyina Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma. The group reported that during his imprisonment, Sein Hla Oo received an additional 20-year sentence, but CPJ was unable to verify this information.
Aung Htun, author
Tha Ban, free-lancer
Imprisoned: February 1998
Aung Htun was arrested in February 1998 for writing a seven-volume book documenting the history of the Burmese student movement. A writer and activist with the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, Aung Htun was sentenced to a total of 17 years imprisonment, according to a joint report published in December 2001 by the Thailand-based Assistance Association of Political Prisoners in Burma and the Burma Lawyers Council. He was sentenced to three years for allegedly violating the 1962 Printer and Publishers Registration Act, seven years under the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, and another seven years under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act. He was said to be jailed at Tharawaddy Prison.
In April 1998, the All Burma Students Democratic Front announced that five others were also prosecuted for contributing to the books, including journalist Tha Ban, a former reporter for the newspaper Kyemon and a prominent Arakanese activist. Tha Ban, whose name is sometimes written as Thar Ban, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and is jailed at Kale Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.
Yan Aung Soe, free-lancer
Imprisoned: September 1998
In a press conference broadcast by state television on October 7, 1998, a senior military intelligence officer accused Yan Aung Soe, a journalist, writer, and political activist, of being involved in a wide-ranging plot by the political opposition to “incite anarchy and uprising,” as translated by the BBC. Air Force Col. Thein Swe, of the Defense Department’s Office of Strategic Studies, identified “Yan Aung Soe, alias Ye Htut,” as a “hardcore member” of the Democratic Party for a New Society. (Yan Aung Soe is also known as Ye Htut, but he is not the journalist Ye Htut who was arrested in September 1995 on the charge of sending “fabricated news” to individuals and media organizations abroad. The latter Ye Htut was included in CPJ’s previous records of imprisoned journalists in Burma but was released in 2001, according to Burmese journalists in Thailand.) The officer said that Yan Aung Soe was involved in writing, printing, and distributing anti-government pamphlets.
Yan Aung Soe, also known by his pen name Thurein Htet Linn, was arrested in September 1998 and sentenced to 52 years in prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma. The group says he is jailed at Myaungmya Prison.
Aung Pwint, free-lancer
Thaung Tun, free-lancer
Imprisoned: October 1999
Aung Pwint, a videographer, editor, and poet, and Thaung Tun, an editor, reporter, and poet better known by his pen name Nyein Thit, were arrested separately in early October 1999. CPJ sources said they were arrested for making independent video documentaries that portrayed “real life” in Burma, including video of forced labor and hardship in rural areas. Aung Pwint worked at a private media company that produced videos for tourism and educational purposes, but he also worked with Thaung Tun on documentary-style projects. Their videotapes circulated through underground networks.
The military government had prohibited Aung Pwint from making videos in 1996 “because they were considered to show too negative a picture of Burmese society and living standards,” according to Human Rights Watch, which awarded Aung Pwint a Hellman-Hammett grant in 2001. A notable poet, he also wrote under the name Maung Aung Pwint.
The two men were tried together and sentenced to eight years in prison, according to CPJ sources. Aung Pwint was initially jailed at Insein Prison but was later transferred to Tharawaddy Prison, according to CPJ sources. Thaung Tun was jailed at Moulmein Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.
Chen Renjie, “Ziyou Bao”
Lin Youping, “Ziyou Bao”
Imprisoned: July 1983
In September 1982, Chen, Lin, and Chen Biling wrote and published a pamphlet titled “Ziyou Bao” (Freedom Report), distributing around 300 copies in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Upon their arrest in July 1983, authorities accused the three men of making contact with Taiwanese spy organizations and publishing a counterrevolutionary pamphlet. According to official government records of the case, the men used “propaganda and incitement to encourage the overthrow of the people’s democratic dictatorship and the socialist system.” In August 1983, Chen Renjie was sentenced to life imprisonment, and Lin Youping was sentenced to death with reprieve. Chen Biling was sentenced to death and was later executed.
Hu Liping, The Beijing Daily
Imprisoned: April 7, 1990
Hu, a staff member of The Beijing Daily, was arrested and charged with “counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda” and “trafficking in state secrets,” according to a rare release of information on his case from the Chinese Ministry of Justice in 1998. The Beijing Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison on August 15, 1990. Under the terms of his original sentence, Hu should have been released in 2000, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information about his legal status.
Zhang Yafei, Tieliu
Chen Yanbin, Tieliu
Imprisoned: September 1990
Zhang, a former student at Beifang Communications University, and Chen, also a former university student, were arrested and charged with counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda for publishing Tieliu (Iron Currents), an underground publication about the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square. Several hundred mimeographed copies of the publication were distributed. In March 1991, Zhang was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years without political rights after his release. Chen was sentenced to 15 years in prison and four years without political rights after his release. In September 2000, the Justice Ministry announced that Chen’s sentence was reduced by three months for good behavior. Under the terms of his original sentence, Zhang should have been released in September 2001, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information about his legal status.
Liu Jingsheng, Tansuo
Imprisoned: May 1992
Liu, a former writer and co-editor of the pro-democracy journal Tansuo (Explorations), was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “counterrevolutionary” activities after being tried secretly in July 1994. Liu was arrested in May 1992 and charged with belonging to labor and pro-democracy groups, including the Liberal Democratic Party of China, the Free Labor Union of China, and the Chinese Progressive Alliance.
Court documents stated that Liu was involved in organizing and leading anti-government and pro-democracy activities. Prosecutors also accused him and other dissidents who were tried on similar charges of writing and printing political leaflets that were distributed in June 1992, during the third anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. Liu has had his sentence reduced twice, in May 2000 and in July 2001, by a total of 15 months.
Kang Yuchun, Freedom Forum
Imprisoned: May 1992
Kang disappeared on May 6, 1992, and was presumed arrested, according to the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch. In October 1993, in response to an inquiry from the United Nations Working Group on Disappearances, Chinese authorities said Kang was arrested on May 27, 1992. On July 14, 1994, he was one of 16 individuals tried in a Chinese court for their alleged involvement with underground pro-democracy groups. Kang was accused, among other charges, of launching Freedom Forum, the magazine of the Chinese Progressive Alliance, and commissioning people to write articles for the magazine. On December 16, 1994, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison for “disseminating counterrevolutionary propaganda” and for “organizing and leading a counterrevolutionary group.”
Wu Shishen, Xinhua News Agency
Ma Tao, China Health Education News
Imprisoned: November 6, 1992
Wu, an editor for China’s state news agency Xinhua, was arrested for allegedly leaking an advance copy of President Jiang Zemin’s 14th Party Congress address to a journalist from the Hong Kong newspaper Kuai Bao (Express). His wife, Ma, editor of China Health Education News, was also arrested on November 6, 1992, and accused of acting as Wu’s accomplice. The Beijing Municipal Intermediate People’s Court held a closed trial, and on August 30, 1993, sentenced Wu to life imprisonment for “illegally supplying state secrets to foreigners.” Ma was sentenced to six years in prison.
According to the terms of her original sentence, Ma should have been released in November 1998, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information on her legal status.
Fan Yingshang, Remen Huati
Imprisoned: February 7, 1996
In 1994, Fan and Yang Jianguo printed more than 60,000 copies of a magazine called Remen Huati (Popular Topics). The men had purchased fake printing authorizations from an editor of the Journal of European Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, according to official Chinese news sources. CPJ was unable to determine the date of Fan’s arrest, but on February 7, 1996, the Chang’an District Court in Shijiazhuang City sentenced him to 15 years in prison for “engaging in speculation and profiteering.” Authorities termed Remen Huati a “reactionary” publication. Yang escaped arrest and was not sentenced.
Hua Di, free-lancer
Imprisoned: January 5, 1998
Hua, a permanent resident of the United States, was arrested while visiting China and charged with revealing state secrets. The charge is believed to stem from articles that Hua, a scientist at Stanford University, had written about China’s missile defense system.
On November 25, 1999, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court tried Hua behind closed doors and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. In March 2000, the Beijing High People’s Court overturned Hua’s conviction and ordered that the case be retried. This judicial reversal was extraordinary, particularly for a high-profile political case. Nevertheless, in April, the Beijing State Security Bureau rejected a request for Hua to be released on medical parole; he suffers from a rare form of male breast cancer.
On November 23, 2000, after a retrial, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court issued a slightly modified verdict, sentencing Hua to 10 years in prison. News of Hua’s sentencing broke in February 2001, when a relative gave the information to foreign correspondents based in Beijing. In late 2001, Hua was moved to Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai, according to CPJ sources.
Gao Qinrong, Xinhua News Agency
Imprisoned: December 4, 1998
Gao, a reporter for the state news agency Xinhua, was jailed for reporting on a corrupt irrigation scheme in drought-plagued Yuncheng, Shanxi Province. Xinhua never carried Gao’s article, which was finally published on May 27, 1998, in an internal reference edition of the official People’s Daily that is distributed only among a select group of party leaders. But by fall 1998, the irrigation scandal had become national news, with reports appearing in the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern Weekend) and on China Central Television. Gao’s wife, Duan Maoying, said that local officials blamed Gao for the flurry of media interest and arranged for his prosecution on false charges.
Gao was arrested on December 4, 1998, and eventually charged with crimes including bribery, embezzlement, and pimping, according to Duan. On April 28, 1999, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison after a closed, one-day trial. He is being held in a prison in Qixian, Shanxi Province, according to CPJ sources.
In September 2001, Gao wrote to Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and asked her to intercede with the Chinese government on his behalf. Gao has received support from several members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of the National People’s Congress, who issued a motion at the annual parliamentary meeting in March urging the Central Discipline Committee and Supreme People’s Court to reopen his case. Yet by year’s end, there was no change in his legal status.
Yue Tianxiang, China Workers’ Monitor
Imprisoned: January 1999
The Tianshui People’s Intermediate Court in Gansu Province sentenced Yue to 10 years in prison on July 5, 1999. The journalist was charged with “subverting state power,” according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Yue was arrested along with two other colleagues–Wang Fengshan and Guo Xinmin–both of whom were sentenced to two years imprisonment and have since been released. According to the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, Yue, Guo, and Wang were arrested in January 1999 for publishing China Workers’ Monitor, a journal that campaigned for workers’ rights.
With help from Wang, Yue and Guo started the journal after they were unable to get compensation from the Tianshui City Transport agency following their dismissal from the company in 1995. All three men were reportedly members of the outlawed China Democracy Party, a dissident group, and were forming an organization to protect the rights of laid-off workers. The first issue of China Workers’ Monitor exposed extensive corruption among officials at the Tianshui City Transport agency. Only two issues were ever published.
Wang Yingzheng, free-lancer
Imprisoned: February 26, 1999
Police arrested Wang in the city of Xuzhou, in eastern Jiangsu Province, as he was photocopying an article he had written about political reform. The article was based on an open letter that the 19-year-old Wang had addressed to Chinese president Jiang Zemin. In the letter, Wang wrote–as translated by Agence France-Presse–“Many Chinese are discontented with the government’s inability to squash corruption. This is largely due to a lack of opposition parties and a lack of press freedom.”
Wang was imprisoned for two weeks in September 1998 and questioned about his association with Qin Yongmin, a key leader of the China Democracy Party, who received a 12-year prison sentence in December 1998.
ýn December 10, 1999, Wang was convicted of subversion and sentenced to three years in prison. His trial was closed to the public, but his family was notified by letter of the verdict, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.
Wu Yilong, Zaiye Dang
Imprisoned: April 26, 1999
Mao Qingxiang, Zaiye Dang
Zhu Yufu, Zaiye Dang
Xu Guang, Zaiye Dang
Imprisoned: June 1999
ýu, an organizer for the banned China Democracy Party (CDP), was detained by police in Guangzhou on April 26, 1999, according to the New YorkÐbased organization Human Rights Watch. Mao, Zhu, and Xu, also leading CDP activists, were reportedly detained sometime around June 4, the 10th anniversary of the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. The four were later charged with subversion for, among other things, establishing a magazine called Zaiye Dang (Opposition Party) and circulating pro-democracy articles and essays on the Internet.
On October 25, 1999, the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court in Zhejiang Province conducted what The New York Timesýdescribed as a “sham trial.” On November 9, 1999, the Hong KongÐbased Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported that all four journalists had been convicted of subversion. Wu was sentenced to 11 years in prison, one of the most severe sentences imposed on a political prisoner in recent years. Mao was sentenced to eight years in prison; Zhu, to seven years; and Xu, to five years.
Liu Xianli, free-lancer
Imprisoned: May 11, 1999
The Beijing Intermediate Court found writer Liu Xianli guilty of subversion and sentenced him to four years in prison, according to a report by the Hong KongÐbased Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.
Liu’s “crime” was attempting to publish a book on Chinese dissidents, including Xu Wenli, one of China’s most prominent political prisoners and a leading figure in the China Democracy Party. In December 1998, Xu was himself convicted of subversion and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Jiang Qisheng, free-lancer
Imprisoned: May 18, 1999
Police arrested Jiang late at night and searched his home, seizing his computer, several documents, and articles he had written for Beijing zhi Chun ýBeijing Spring), a New York-based, pro-democracy publication. The arrest followed Jiang’s publication of a series of essays and open letters related to the 10th anniversary of the government’s violent suppression of student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. One essay called for a candlelight vigil on June 4, 1999; another urged the government to conduct a full investigation into the massacre; and a third protested the police’s brutal treatment of Cao Jiahe, an editor of Dongfang (Orient) magazine who was detained on May 10, 1999, and tortured while in police custody. Cao had been detained for allegedly circulating a petition to remember the hundreds killed by government troops during the Tiananmen crackdown.
During Jiang’s two-and-a-half-hour trial, held on November 1, 1999, prosecutors cited an April essay calling for a protest vigil, “Light a Thousand Candles,” as evidence of his anti-state activities. Prosecutors also accused him of circulating an article on political reform, though Jiang said he showed the piece to only three friends.
On December 27, 2000, 13 months after his trial, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Jiang to four years in prison.
An Jun, free-lancer
Imprisoned: July 1999
An, an anti-corruption campaigner, was sentenced to four years in prison on subversion charges. The Intermediate People’s Court in Xinyang, Henan Province, announced the verdict on April 19, 2000, citing An’s essays and articles on corruption as evidence of his anti-state activities.
A former manager of an export trading company, An founded the civic group China Corruption Monitor in 1998 and was arrested in July 1999. The group reportedly exposed more than 100 cases of corruption. During his November 1999 trial, An “said he was only trying to help the government end rampant corruption,” according to Agence France-Presse.
In November 2001, An’s family sent a letter to President Jiang Zemin appealing for the journalist’s release for medical reasons. An suffers from heart problems and has not received adequate medical treatment while in prison, according to Agence France-Presse.
Qi Yanchen, free-lancer
Imprisoned: September 2, 1999
Police arrested Qi at his home in Cangzhou, Hebei Province. His wife told reporters that officers confiscated his computer, printer, fax machine, and a number of documents.
Qi had published many articles in intellectual journals and was associated with the online magazine Consultations, a publication linked to the banned China Development Union. He also subscribed to the pro-democracy electronic newsletter Dacankao (VIP Reference), published by U.S.-based dissidents. Qi also worked as an economist with the local Agricultural Development Bank of China.
On May 30, 2000, Qi was prosecuted for subversion before the Cangzhou People’s Court in a closed, half-day trial. He was sentenced to four years in prison on September 19.
Zhang Ji, free-lancer
Imprisoned: October 1999
ýhang Ji, a student at Qiqihar University in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, was charged on November 8, 1999, with “disseminating reactionary documents via the Internet,” according to the Hong KongÐbased Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.
Zhang had allegedly been distributing news and information about the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong. He was arrested sometime in October as part of the Chinese government’s crackdown on the sect.
Using the Internet, Zhang reportedly transmitted news of the crackdown to Falun Gong members in the United States and Canada and also received reports from abroad, which he then circulated among practitioners in China. Before Zhang’s arrest, Chinese authorities had stepped up their surveillance of the Internet as part of their effort to crush Falun Gong.
Huang Qi, Tianwang Web site
Imprisoned: June 3, 2000
Huang Qi published the Tianwang Web site (www.6-4tianwang.com), which featured articles about pro-democracy activism in China, the independence movement in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and the banned spiritual group Falun Gong. He was arrested on June 3, 2000, and later charged with subversion.
The Chengdu Intermediate Court in Sichuan Province held a secret trial on August 14, 2001. Family members were not allowed to attend, and no verdict or sentencing date was released. However, in China, criminal cases brought to trial usually result in a guilty verdict. The charges against Huang Qi carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. Huang’s trial was postponed several times throughout 2001 in an apparent effort to deflect international attention from China’s human rights practices during the country’s campaign to host the 2008 Olympic Games. Two of the trial delays–on February 23 and June 27–coincided with important dates in Beijing’s Olympics bid.
Guo Qinghai, free-lancer
Imprisoned: September 15, 2000
Guo was arrested after posting several essays on overseas online bulletin boards calling for political reforms in China. In almost 40 essays posted under the pen name Qing Song, Guo covered a variety of topics, including political prisoners, environmental problems, and corruption. In one essay, Guo discussed the importance of a free press, saying, “Those who oppose lifting media censorship argue that it will negatively influence social stability. But according to what I have seen…countries that control speech may be able to maintain stability in the short term, but the end result is often violent upheaval, coup d’etats, or war.”
Guo, who worked in a bank, also wrote articles for Taiwanese newspapers. He was a friend and classmate of writer Qi Yanchen, who was sentenced to four years in prison on subversion charges just four days after Guo’s arrest. One of Guo’s last online essays appealed for Qi’s release.
On April 3, 2001, Guo was tried on subversion charges by a court in Cangzhou, Hebei Province. On April 26, he was sentenced to four years in prison.
Liu Weifang, free-lancer
Imprisoned: October 2000
Liu was arrested sometime after September 26, 2000, when security officials from the Ninth Agricultural Brigade District, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, came to his house, confiscated his computer, and announced that he was being officially investigated, according to an account that Liu posted on the Internet. Liu’s most recent online essay was dated October 20, 2000.
Liu had recently posted a number of essays criticizing China’s leaders and political system in Internet chat rooms. The essays, which the author signed either with his real name or with the initials “lgwf,” covered topics such as official corruption, development policies in China’s western regions, and environmental issues. At press time, the articles were available online at: http://liuweifang.ipfox.com.
“The reasons for my actions are all above-board,” Liu wrote in one essay. “They are not aimed at any one person or any organization; rather, they are directed at any behavior in society that harms humanity. The goal is to speed up humanity’s progress and development.” The official Xinjiang Daily characterized Liu’s work as “a major threat to national security.”
According to a June 15, 2001, report in the Xinjiang Daily, Liu was sentenced to three years in prison by the Ninth Agricultural Brigade District’s Intermediate People’s Court. Liu’s sentencing was announced amid government attempts to tighten control over the Internet.
Jiang Weiping, free-lancer
Imprisoned: December 5, 2000
Jiang, a free-lance reporter, was arrested on December 5, 2000, after publishing a number of articles in the Hong Kong magazine Qianshao (Frontline) that revealed corruption scandals in northeastern China. Jiang wrote the Qianshao articles, which were published between June and September 1999, under various pen names. His coverage exposed several major corruption scandals involving high-level officials. Notably, Jiang reported that Shenyang vice mayor Ma Xiangdong had lost nearly 30 million yuan (US$3.6 million) in public funds gambling in Macau casinos. Jiang also revealed that Daqing mayor Qian Dihua had used public funds to buy apartments for each of his 29 mistresses.
Soon after these cases were publicized in Qianshao and other Hong Kong media, central authorities detained Ma. He was accused of taking bribes, embezzling public funds, and gambling overseas. Ma was executed for these crimes in December 2001. After his arrest, Ma’s case was widely reported in the domestic press and used as an example in the government’s ongoing fight against corruption.
However, in May 2001, Jiang was indicted on the charge of “revealing state secrets.”
An experienced journalist, Jiang had worked until May 2000 as the northeastern China bureau chief for the Hong Kong paper Wen Hui Bao. In the 1980s, he worked as a Dalian-based correspondent for Xinhua News Agency. He contributed free-lance articles to Qianshao, a monthly Chinese-language magazine focusing on mainland affairs.
The Dalian Intermediate Court sentenced Jiang to eight years in prison following a secret trial held on September 5, 2001. On November 20, 2001, CPJ honored Jiang with an International Press Freedom Award.
Lu Xinhua, free-lancer
Imprisoned: March 2001
Lu was arrested in mid-March in Wuhan, Hubei Province, after articles he had written about rural unrest and official corruption appeared on various Internet news sites based overseas. On April 20, he was charged with “inciting to subvert state power,” a charge frequently used against journalists who write about politically sensitive subjects. Lu’s trial began on September 18. On December 30, Lu was sentenced to four years in prison.
Yang Zili, free-lancer
Xu Wei, Xiaofei Ribao
Jin Haike, free-lancer
Zhang Honghai, free-lancer
Imprisoned: March 13, 2001
Yang, Xu, Jin, and Zhang were detained on March 13 and charged with subversion on April 20, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. The four were active participants in the “Xin Qingnian Xuehui” (New Youth Study Group), an informal gathering of individuals who explored topics related to political and social reform and used the Internet to circulate relevant articles.
Yang and Xu were detained separately on March 13. Less is known about the circumstances under which Zhang and Jin were detained, but they were also taken into custody around mid-March, according to the Information Center.
Yang, the group’s most prominent member, is well known in liberal academic circles for his technological expertise in evading government firewalls and creating e-mail accounts that cannot be monitored, according to a report in The New York Times. His Web site, “Yangzi de Sixiang Jiayuan” (Yangzi’s Garden of Ideas), featured poems, essays, and reports by various authors on subjects ranging from the shortcomings of rural elections to broad discussions of political theory.
Authorities shut down the site after Yang’s arrest, according to a well-informed U.S.-based source who did not wish to be identified. The source created a mirror site (www.bringmenews.com/China/freeyzl/mirror/).
When Xu, a reporter with Xiaofei Ribao (Consumer Daily), was detained on March 13, authorities confiscated his computer, other professional equipment, and books, according to an account published online by his girlfriend, Wang Ying. Wang reported that public security officials also ordered the Xiaofei Ribao to fire Xu. The newspaper has refused to discuss Xu’s case with reporters, according to The Associated Press.
All four were tried on September 28 by the Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court, but no verdict had been announced by year’s end.
Liu Haofeng, free-lancer
Imprisoned: March 2001
Liu was secretly arrested in Shanghai in mid-March while conducting research on social conditions in rural China for the dissident China Democracy Party (CDP). On May 16, Liu was sentenced to “reeducation through labor,” a form of administrative detention that allows officials to send individuals to such camps for up to three years without trial or formal charges.
After Liu’s arrest, friends and family members were not informed of his whereabouts, and CDP members say they only found out what had happened to him when they received news of his sentence in August.
Sentencing papers issued by the Shanghai Reeducation through Labor Committee cited several alleged offenses, including a policy paper and an essay written by Liu that were published under various pen names on the CDP’s Web site. The essay focused on the current situation of China’s peasants. The committee also accused Liu of trying to form an illegal organization, the “China Democracy Party Joint Headquarters, Second Front.”
The journalist previously worked as an editor and reporter for various publications, including the magazine Jishu Jingji Yu Guanli (Technology Economy and Management), run by the Fujian Province Economic and Trade Committee, and Zhongguo Shichang Jingji Bao (China Market Economy News), run by the Central Party School in Beijing.
Beginning in 1999, he worked for Univillage, a research organization focusing on rural democratization, and managed their Web site. He was working as a free-lance journalist at the time of his arrest.
Zhu Ruixiang, free-lancer
Imprisoned: May 9, 2001
Zhu was arrested and charged with subversion after distributing articles via the Internet. Prosecutors accused him of distributing “hostile” materials, including copies of Dacankao (VIP Reference), a Chinese-language, pro-democracy electronic newsletter that Zhu had allegedly e-mailed to several friends, according to U.S.-based sources close to the case.
Dacankao, which is compiled in the United States and e-mailed to more than 1 million addresses in China every day, contains articles from various sources about social and political topics banned from China’s tightly controlled domestic media.
Following his September 10 trial, the Shaoyang Municipal Intermediate People’s Court signaled its intention to sentence Zhu to a nine-month jail term. However, the Political and Legal Committee of Shaoyang Municipality reviewed the case and insisted that the court impose a more severe sentence. On September 11, Zhu was sentenced to three years in prison.
Zhu, a respected lawyer in Shaoyang City, had previously worked as an editor at a local radio station. He was also the founder and editor-in-chief of the Shaoyang City Radio and Television Journal.
Wang Jinbo, free-lancer
Imprisoned: May 2001
Wang, a free-lance journalist, was arrested in early May 2001 for e-mailing essays to overseas organizations arguing that the government should change its official line that the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square were “counterrevolutionary.” In October, Wang was formally charged with “inciting to subvert state power.” On November 14, the Junan County Court in Shandong Province conducted his closed trial; only the journalists’ relatives were allowed to attend. On December 13, Wang was sentenced to four years in prison.
Wang, a member of the banned China Democracy Party, had been detained several times in the past for his political activities. In February, days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) visited Beijing, he was briefly taken into custody after signing an open letter calling on the IOC to pressure China to release political prisoners. A number of Wang’s essays have been posted on various Internet sites. One, titled “My Account of Police Violations of Civil Rights,” describes his January 2001 detention, when police interrogated him and held him for 20 hours with no food or heat after he signed an open letter calling for the release of political prisoners.
Izdine Abdu Salam, Radio Karthala
Imprisoned: November 13, 2001
Salam, director of programming and a host for the private Radio Karthala, was detained and interrogated by police officers in the capital, Moroni. A journalist contacted by CPJ said the arrest came after participants in a call-in show hosted by Salam made statements that authorities claim defamed ruling officials.
The show, aired during the week of November 5, focused on a constitutional referendum planned for late December. Many callers harshly attacked provisions included in the proposed referendum text.
The charges against Salam are not known, but he remained in prison as of December 31, more than a month after his arrest. Police also seized tapes of the offending broadcast.
Bernardo Rogelio Arévalo Padrón, Línea Sur Press
Imprisoned: November 18, 1997
Arévalo Padrón, founder of the Línea Sur Press news agency, continues to languish in prison despite being eligible for parole, and his health has suffered as a result of his prolonged imprisonment.
On October 31, 1997, a provincial court sentenced Arévalo Padrón to six years in prison for “lack of respect” for President Fidel Castro Ruz and Cuban State Council member Carlos Lage. The charges stemmed from a series of interviews Arévalo Padrón gave in late 1997 to Miami-based radio stations in which he alleged that while Cuban farmers starved, helicopters were taking fresh meat from the countryside to the dinner tables of President Castro, Lage, and other Communist Party officials in Havana.
The journalist began his sentence on November 18, 1997, in a maximum-security prison, where he shared a filthy cell with criminals. On April 11, 1998, State Security officers beat Arévalo Padrón and placed him in solitary confinement after accusing him of making anti-government posters. Later, another prisoner was found to have made the posters.
Arévalo Padrón also suffered bouts of bronchitis and was reportedly treated twice for high blood pressure in the prison infirmary. On January 8, 2000, the journalist was transferred to Labor Camp No. 20, where he served four months.
On April 6, 2000, the journalist was sent to the overcrowded and unsanitary San Marcos Labor Camp, where he worked chopping weeds with a machete in sugar cane fields. According to the independent news agency CubaPress, prison authorities constantly watched Arévalo Padrón, censored his incoming and outgoing mail, and threatened to send him to a maximum-security prison if he did not meet his production quota.
Because of his strenuous work at the labor camps, Arévalo Padrón developed lower back pain and coronary blockage. After ignoring Arévalo Padrón’s pain for weeks, in September 2000 prison authorities allowed him to see a doctor, who determined that Arévalo Padrón’s poor health disqualified him from physical work, and that he should permanently wear an orthopedic brace, CubaPress reported.
In October 2000, prison authorities informed Arévalo Padrón that his parole had been approved. Yet Arévalo Padrón remained in the labor camp, a violation of Cuban law.
Early in 2001, Arévalo Padrón was transferred to the El Diamante Labor Camp. According to the independent news agency HavanaPress, prison officers continued to harass him.
In February, the journalist’s colleagues reported that he had again developed high blood pressure. In early March, Arévalo Padrón complained that officials refused to take him to a hospital outside the labor camp for treatment, according to CubaPress. On March 21, prison authorities relented after pressure from friends, family, and press freedom organizations. The journalist saw a heart specialist who recommended that Arévalo Padrón check his blood pressure daily, take medication, avoid tension, and stop smoking.
In May, CubaPress reported that prison officers routinely ignored the journalist’s requests to have his blood pressure checked and often withheld his medication. During the same period, a court again denied him parole despite his poor health.
On June 30, the journalist was transferred to another labor camp. For the prison transfer, he had to walk several miles in the heat carrying his belongings, the journalist said in a letter to colleagues. In October, judges ignored Arévalo Padrón’s request for parole, and the journalist continued to report constant harassment.
In November, the European Union requested that Arévalo Padrón be released and allowed to travel to Spain, but authorities did not respond. The journalist’s request to attend a January appointment with the U.S. Interests Section Refugee Unit in Havana was also ignored.
Arévalo Padrón is currently jailed in a cubicle for chronically ill prisoners. While he is exempt from physical work, he lacks adequate medical attention and food and remains jailed in unsanitary conditions. Despite his legal right to be paroled, Arévalo Padrón’s jailers tell him that he will serve his entire sentence.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: 1
Guy Kasongo Kilembwe, Pot-Pourri
Imprisoned: December 31, 2001
Kilembwe, editor-in-chief of the Kinshasa-based satirical newspaper Pot-Pourri, was arrested by Special Services agents and taken to the State Security Court in Kinshasa. He was charged with “threatening state security” and “insulting the person of the head of state” and was detained for 48 hours. Vicky Bolingola, the newsroom secretary, was also arrested and detained on the same charges.
The State Security Court’s prosecutor released both on January 3, 2002. No official reason was given for their sudden release.
Ghebrehiwet Keleta, Tsigenay
Imprisoned: July 2000
Keleta, a reporter with the weekly Tsigenay, was kidnapped by security agents on his way to work in July 2000 and has not been seen since.
Medhanie Haile, Keste Debena
Imprisoned: September 18, 2001
Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Tsigenay
Imprisoned: September 19, 2001
Mattewos Habteab, Meqaleh,
Imprisoned: September 19, 2001
Temesken Ghebreyesus, Keste Debena
Imprisoned: September 20, 2001
Amanuel Asrat, Zemen,
Imprisoned: September 2001
Fesshaye Yohannes, Setit
Imprisoned: September 27, 2001
Said Abdelkader, Admas
Imprisoned: September 20, 2001
Selamyinghes Beyene, Meqaleh,
Imprisoned: September 21, 2001
Dawit Habtemichael, Meqaleh,
Imprisoned: on or about September 21, 2001
Seyoum Fsehaye, free-lance photographer
Imprisoned: September 21, 2001
Beginning September 18, 2001, Eritrean security forces arrested at least 10 local journalists. Two others fled the country. The arrests came less than a week after authorities abruptly closed all privately owned newspapers, allegedly to safeguard national unity in the face of growing political turmoil in the tiny Horn of Africa nation.
International news reports quoted presidential adviser Yemane Gebremeskel as saying that the journalists could have been arrested for avoiding military service. Sources in Asmara, however, say that at least two of the detained journalists, free-lance photographer Fsehaye and Mohamed, editor of Tsigenay, were legally exempt from national service. Fsehaye is reportedly exempt since he is an independence war veteran; while Mohamed is apparently well over the maximum age for military service.
All these journalists remained in custody as of December 31.
CPJ sources in Asmara maintain that the suspension and subsequent arrests of independent journalists were part of a full-scale government effort to suppress political dissent in advance of December elections, which the government canceled without explanation.
Tamirate Zuma, Atkurot
Imprisoned: May 25, 2001
Zuma, former publisher and editor-in-chief of the defunct Amharic-language weekly Atkurot, was arrested and imprisoned on charges of failing to pay a publishing license fee, inciting violence or rebellion, and defamation. All three are crimes under the Ethiopian Press Proclamation.
The first charge stemmed from a licensing requirement. Strapped for cash, Zuma was unable to pay the fee to renew his annual publishing license. In the second case, Zuma is accused of inciting people to violence or rebellion, a charge resulting from a recent Atkurot article that quoted an interview from the U.S.-based magazine Ethiopian Review. In it, a former official in dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg regime, Gen. Haile Meles, predicted the imminent overthrow of the current Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front government.
The third case is a defamation charge resulting from an Atkurot article that reported on financial mismanagement at a government-owned leather factory. As of December 31, Zuma remained in jail. In October, a CPJ delegation visited the journalist during a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia.
Abdullah Nouri, Khordad
Imprisoned: November 28, 1999
In a trial that transfixed the nation, Iran’s Special Court for Clergy convicted Nouri, publisher of the reformist daily Khordad and a former vice president and interior minister, of religious dissent on November 27. The conviction was widely viewed as an attempt by conservative forces within the regime to sideline Nouri, an influential ally of reformist president Muhammad Khatami, in advance of the country’s February 2000 elections. Nouri was believed to be a front-runner for the important position of speaker of Iran’s Parliament.
The charges against him, which included defaming “the system,” insulting religious leaders, and disseminating false information and propaganda against the state, were based on news articles published in Khordad. During the trial, Nouri sharply criticized the clerical establishment and called for greater freedoms in Iranian society.
He was sentenced to five years in prison and barred from practicing journalism for five years. Khordad was ordered to close. At year’s end, Nouri was serving his sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Akbar Ganji, Sobh-e-Emrooz, Fath
Imprisoned: April 22, 2000
Ganji, a leading investigative reporter for the reformist daily Sobh-e-Emrooz and a member of the editorial board of the pro-reform daily Fath, was arrested and prosecuted in both Iran’s Press Court and Revolutionary Court.
The case in the Press Court stemmed from Ganji’s investigative articles about the 1998 killings of several dissidents and intellectuals that implicated top intelligence officials and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. In the Revolutionary Court, he was accused of making propaganda against the Islamic regime and threatening national security in comments he made at an April conference in Berlin on the future of the reform movement in Iran.
The Press Court case is still pending, but on January 13, 2001, the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ganji to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of internal exile. In May, after Ganji had already served more than a year in prison, an appellate court reduced his punishment to six months.
The Iranian Justice Department then appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, arguing that the appellate court had committed errors in commuting the original 10-year sentence. The Supreme Court overturned the appellate court’s decision and referred the case to a different appeals court. On July 16, that court sentenced Ganji to six years in jail. According to the state news agency IRNA, the ruling was “definitive,” meaning that it cannot be appealed.
The legal situation was not clear, however. IRNA quoted an official with the Tehran-based Society for Defending Press Freedom in August 2001 as saying, “No one as yet knows which judge or which officials of the judiciary have made this latest decision.”
Emadeddin Baghi, Fath, Neshat
Imprisoned: May 29, 2000
Baghi, a contributor to the banned daily Neshat who was on the editorial board of another outlawed daily, Fath, was detained during a closed-door trial. On July 17, Tehran’s Press Court sentenced him to five and a half years in prison.
According to the state news agency IRNA, Baghi was charged with publishing articles that “questioned the validity of…Islamic law,” with “threatening national security, and… spreading unsubstantiated news stories” about the role of “agents of the Intelligence Ministry in the serial murder of intellectuals and dissidents in 1998.”
The charges were based on complaints that a number of government agencies had lodged, including the Intelligence Ministry, the conservative-controlled Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and former security officials.
The charges also mentioned a 1999 piece Baghi published in Neshat responding to another article criticizing the death penalty that had itself landed Neshat editor Mashallah Shamsolvaezin in jail. The closed-door trial began on May 1. In late October, an appeals court reduced the sentence to three years. Baghi remains in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Hamid Jafari Nasrabadi, Kavir
Imprisoned: May 9, 2001
Mahmoud Mojdavi, Kavir
Imprisoned: May 9, 2001
Nasrabadi, director of the Shahid Rajai University student magazine Kavir, and Mojdavi, a writer at the paper, were arrested by order of Tehran’s Press Court in connection with an allegedly “indecent” article by Mojdavi. According to press reports, the seven-page article, titled “Trial of the Universal Creator,” described fictitious proceedings in which God was put on trial. Officials said the article carried an “indecent tone and insulting interpretations.”
Nasrabadi and Mojdavi were reportedly sentenced in December to five and three years respectively.
Ibtisam Berto Sulaiman al-Dakhil, Al-Nida’
Imprisoned: June 1991
Fawwaz Muhammad al-Awadi Bessisso, Al-Nida’
Imprisoned: June 1991
Bessisso and al-Dakhil were sentenced to life in prison for their work with Al-Nida’, a newspaper Iraqi authorities launched during Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1990. At year’s end, they were the last remaining journalists in prison in Kuwait, which jailed 17 reporters and editors for their work with Al-Nida’ following the Gulf War and charged them with collaboration.
The defendants were reportedly tortured during their interrogations. Their trial, which began on May 19, 1991, in a martial-law court, failed to meet international standards of justice. In particular, prosecutors failed to rebut the journalists’ defense that they had been forced to work for the Iraqi newspaper.
On June 16, 1991, the journalists were sentenced to death. Ten days later, following international protests, all martial-law death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. The other 15 journalists were freed gradually starting in 1996, most on the occasion of the emir’s annual prisoner amnesty in February.
MOROCCO (Western Sahara): 1
Noureddine Darif, Al-Amal al-Democrati
Imprisoned: November 17, 2001
Darif, a journalist for the leftist weekly Al-Amal al-Democrati, was detained by local authorities in Smara Province of Western Sahara, which is controlled by Morocco. Darif was detained at a hospital where he was trying to interview individuals injured earlier in the day during demonstrations. He was taken to a police station and beaten, according to reports and CPJ sources. Darif is accused of “collusion with a foreign party” and of stirring up violent disturbances. He is in Ayoun Prison.
Om Sharma, Janadisha
Dipendra Rokaya, Janadisha
Govinda Acharya, Janadesh
Khil Bahadur Bhandari, Janadesh
Deepak Sapkota, Janadesh
Manarishi Dhital, Dishabodh
Ishwarchandra Gyawali, Dishabodh
Imprisoned: November 26, 2001
On November 26, police raided the offices of three publications closely associated with Nepal’s Maoist movement: the daily Janadisha, the weekly Janadesh, and the monthly Dishabodh. The police arrested nine staff members, including seven journalists, and also confiscated equipment and written materials. The arrested journalists included Sharma, an editor for Janadisha; Rokaya, whose position at Janadisha was not known; Archarya, an editor of Janadesh; Bhandari, executive editor of Janadesh; Sapkota, a reporter for Janadesh; Dhital, a reporter for Dishabodh; and Gyawali, executive editor of Dishabodh.
All were arrested about two hours before the government declared a state of emergency and enacted the Terrorist and Destructive Activities (Control and Punishment) ordinance, which named the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) a terrorist organization and therefore illegal. The government announcement also stipulated that any organizations or individuals supporting the CPN-M and its activities would be considered terrorists, according to local news reports. Under the new regulations, terrorism carries a life sentence.
On January 9, 2002, lawyers for the journalists filed a habeas corpus petition to the Supreme Court, which then issued a show cause notice to the government. The government responded that six of the journalists were charged under the terrorism ordinance for engaging in activities supporting the Maoist movement, according to a lawyer for the journalists. At press time, the government had not yet issued a response for Om Sharma’s case, and the hearing date for all the cases would not be set until it did. The defense lawyers argue that the journalists’ detention is illegal because they were arrested before the terrorist ordinance was officially declared.
In the aftermath of the state of emergency declaration on November 26, dozens of journalists were rounded up for interrogation or arrest, although most were released after a short period of time. CPJ confirmed that the following journalists remained in prison on December 31, 2001. By year’s end, the government had not released information about the reasons behind these journalists’ arrests. Local journalists and human rights organizations were unable to determine whether any of the following had been officially charged.
Dev Kumar Yadav, Janadesh
Imprisoned: November 28, 2001
Yadav, a reporter for the weekly Janadesh, was arrested in Siraha. Although the circumstances surrounding his detention were unclear, at year’s end he was being held in Siraha, according to the Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), a Kathmandu-based human rights organization.
Ganga Bista, Nepal Television, Chautari Times
Shankar Khanal, Radio Nepal, Spacetime Daily
Imprisoned: December 2, 2001
Bista, a reporter for Nepal Television and Chautari Times, and Khanal, a reporter for Radio Nepal and Spacetime Daily, were arrested by the army along with Nepal Samacharpatra reporter Indira Giri, according to INSEC. Giri was released on December 6.
Sama Thapa, Yugayan
Imprisoned: December 6, 2001
After his arrest in Kailali District, Thapa, publisher of Yugayan, was brought to the local police station in Tikapur, according to the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) and INSEC. He was then shifted to the Regional Police Unit Office in Dhangadhi, where he was being held at year’s end.
Chitra Choudhary, Nawa Paricharcha
Imprisoned: December 6, 2001
Choudhary is an adviser-editor of Nawa Paricharcha weekly in Tikapur and the former editor-in-chief of Yugayan. He was also the principal of the National Lower Secondary School in Patharaiya. School personnel arrested him on the morning of December 6. He was brought with Sama Thapa to police stations in Tikapur and Dhangadhi. At year’s end, he was being held in Army Barracks, Dhangadhi, according to INSEC.
Komal Nath Baral, Swaviman
Imprisoned: December 21, 2001
Baral, an editor at Swaviman weekly, was arrested at his home in Kaski district, Pokhara, according to FNJ and INSEC.
Prem Bahadur Diyali, Blast Daily
Imprisoned: December 21, 2001
Diyali, a reporter at Blast Daily, was arrested by police at his residence in Sunsari District, according to FNJ and INSEC. He was put under preventive detention on December 23. Local journalists have said Blast, based in Dharan, was targeted because it had published reports criticizing local leaders.
Badri Prasad Sharma, Baglung Weekly
Imprisoned: December 25, 2001
Sharma, editor and publisher of Baglung Weekly, was arrested by security personnel from his house in Baglung, according to FNJ and INSEC.
Chandra Man Shrestha, Janadisha
Imprisoned: December 27, 2001
Shrestha, a managing director at the daily Janadisha, was arrested in Kathmandu. His whereabouts were unknown at year’s end.
Janardan Biyogi, Swaviman
Imprisoned: December 31, 2001
Biyogi, a subeditor of Swaviman weekly, was arrested by the army in Kaski District, Pokhara, according to FNJ.
Munawwar Mohsin, The Frontier Post
Imprisoned: January 29, 2001
Police in Peshawar arrested Mohsin and four colleagues from The Frontier Post on the evening of January 29, after the newspaper published a letter to the editor titled “Why Muslims Hate Jews,” which included derogatory references to the Prophet Muhammad. Although senior management at the newspaper claimed the letter was inserted into the copy by mistake and apologized for failing to stop its publication, district officials responded to complaints from local religious leaders by shutting down the paper and ordering the immediate arrest of seven staff members on charges of blasphemy. In Pakistan, anyone accused of blasphemy is subject to immediate arrest without due process safeguards; those found guilty may be sentenced to death.
At the end of 2001, the blasphemy case was ongoing, and Mohsin was the only journalist from The Frontier Post remaining in prison. (Two of the journalists charged in the case immediately went into hiding and were never arrested. The other four were eventually released on bail.) Mohsin, who was working as the newspaper’s subeditor, admitted responsibility for publishing the letter, which he says he had not read carefully. He told The New York Times that he “could never think of abusing our Holy Prophet” but confessed that, having only recently completed a drug rehabilitation program, his mind may have been slightly addled. Mohsin was imprisoned in Peshawar Central Jail.
Grigory Pasko, Boyevaya Vakhta
Imprisoned: December 25, 2001
Pasko, an investigative reporter with Boyevaya Vakhta (Battle Watch), a newspaper published by the Pacific Fleet, was convicted of treason on December 25 and sentenced to four years in prison by the Military Court of the Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok. The ruling also stripped Pasko of his military rank and state decorations.
The journalist was taken into custody in the courtroom and then jailed. Pasko’s attorney, Anatoly Pyshkin, filed an appeal with the Military Collegium of the Russian Supreme Court seeking full acquittal.
Pasko was arrested in November 1997 and charged with passing classified documents to Japanese news outlets. He had been reporting on environmental damage caused by the Russian navy. Pasko spent 20 months in prison while awaiting trial.
In July 1999, he was acquitted of treason but found guilty of abusing his authority as an officer. He was immediately amnestied, but four months later the Military Collegium of the Russian Supreme Court canceled the Vladivostok court’s verdict and ordered a new trial.
Pasko’s second trial began on July 11, 2001, after having been postponed three times since March.
During the trial, Pasko’s defense demonstrated that the proceedings lacked a basis in Russian law. Article 7 of the Federal Law on State Secrets, which stipulates that information about environmental dangers cannot be classified, protects Pasko’s work on sensitive issues, such as unlawful dumping of radioactive waste. The prosecution relied on a secret Ministry of Defense decree (No. 055) even though the Russian Constitution bars the use of secret legislation in criminal cases.
The defense also challenged the veracity of many of the witnesses, several of whom acknowledged that the Federal Security Service (FSB) falsified their statements or tried to persuade them to give false testimony. An FSB investigator was reprimanded for falsifying evidence in the first trial, and the signatures of two people who witnessed a search of the reporter’s apartment were forged.
Throughout the year, CPJ issued numerous statements calling attention to Pasko’s ordeal, and in early June, a CPJ delegation traveled to Vladivostok before Pasko’s trial to publicize concerns over the charges.
Amiel Nkuliza, Le Partisan
Imprisoned: December 31, 2001
Police detained Nkuliza, a journalist with Le Partisan newspaper, and questioned him about his reporting on the murder of Gratien Munyarubuga, a founder of the opposition Democratic Party for Renewal-Ubuyanja, and his stories about the Democratic Republican Movement party. He was released on January 3, 2002.
SOUTH KOREA: 3
Lee Chang Gi, Jajuminbo
Park Joon Young, Jajuminbo
Baek Oon Jong, Jajuminbo
Imprisoned: October 23, 2001
Agents from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service arrested Lee, chief editor of the monthly Jajuminbo, and Park and Baek, both reporters for the magazine. The journalists were charged with violating South Korea’s National Security Law, which has been used to punish those who publish or broadcast views deemed anti-state, especially material seen as supportive of North Korea or of communism generally.
Jajuminbo, which also produces an online publication at www.jajuminbo.com, is a small-circulation, private magazine that promotes the reunification of North and South Korea.
During the trial, prosecutors accused Jajuminbo of publishing articles that promoted North Korea’s vision of reunification. The three journalists were also accused of maintaining contact with “pro-North Korean” activists in Japan.
The district attorney asked that each of the journalists be sentenced to four years in prison. The court was scheduled to announce its verdict on February 9, 2002. As this book went to press, all three journalists were being held at the Seoul Detention Center.
Hamadi Jebali, Al-Fajr
Imprisoned: January 1991
On August 28, 1992, a military court sentenced Jebali, editor of Al-Fajr, the weekly newspaper of the banned Islamic Al-Nahda Party, to 16 years in prison. He was tried along with 279 other individuals accused of belonging to Al-Nahda. Jebali was convicted of “aggression with the intention of changing the nature of the state” and “membership in an illegal organization.”
During his testimony, Jebali denied the charges and displayed evidence that he had been tortured while in custody. Jebali has been in jail since January 1991, when he was sentenced to one year in prison after Al-Fajr published an article calling for the abolition of military courts in Tunisia. International human rights groups monitoring the mass trial concluded that the proceedings fell far below international standards of justice.
Abdellah Zouari, Al-Fajr
Imprisoned: February 1991
On August 28, 1992, a military court sentenced Zouari, a contributor to Al-Fajr, the weekly newspaper of the banned Islamic Al-Nahda Party, to 11 years in prison. Zouari was tried along with 279 other individuals accused of belonging to Al-Nahda. He has been in jail since February 1991, when he was charged with “association with an unrecognized organization.” International human rights groups monitoring the trial concluded it fell far short of meeting international standards of justice.
Huseyin Solak, Mucadele
Imprisoned: October 27, 1993
Solak, the Gaziantep bureau chief of the socialist magazine Mucadele, was arrested and charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code with membership in Devrimci Sol (also known as Dev Sol), an outlawed underground leftist organization responsible for numerous terrorist operations in Turkey. Solak was convicted on the strength of statements from a witness who said he had seen the journalist distributing copies of Mucadele.
According to the trial transcript, the prosecution witness also testified that Solak had hung unspecified banners in public and served as a lookout while members of Devrimci Sol threw a Molotov cocktail at a bank in the town of Gaziantep. The prosecution also cited “illegal” documents found after searches of Solak’s home and office. Solak confessed to the charges while in police custody but recanted in court.
On November 24, 1994, Solak was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison. At year’s end, he was being held in Sincan F-type Prison.
Hasan Ozgun, Ozgur Gundem
Imprisoned: December 9, 1993
Ozgun, a Diyarbakir correspondent for the now defunct pro-Kurdish daily Ozgur Gundem, was arrested during a December 9, 1993, police raid on the paper’s Diyarbakir bureau. He was charged with being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), under Article 168 of the Penal Code.
Trial transcripts show that the prosecution based its case on what it described as Ozgur Gundem‘s pro-PKK slant, following a Turkish-government pattern of harassing journalists affiliated with the publication. The prosecution also submitted copies of the banned PKK publications Serkhabun and Berxehun, found in Ozgun’s possession, as well as photographs and biographical sketches of PKK members from the newspaper’s archive. The state also cited Ozgun’s possession of an unlicensed handgun as evidence of his membership in the PKK.
In his defense, Ozgun maintained that the PKK publications were used as sources of information for newspaper articles and that the photos of PKK members were in the archive because of interviews the newspaper had conducted in the past. Ozgun admitted to having purchased the gun on the black market but denied all other charges.
At year’s end, Ozgun was being held in Aydin Prison.
Serdar Gelir, Mucadele
Imprisoned: April 25, 1994
Gelir, Ankara bureau chief for the weekly socialist magazine Mucadele, was detained on April 16, 1994. He was formally arrested and imprisoned 10 days later on the charge of belonging to an illegal organization.
The Ministry of Justice informed CPJ that Gelir was charged and convicted under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code and Article 5 of the Anti-Terror Law 3713 and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment by the Ankara State Security Court for being a member of an armed, illegal leftist organization (Devrimci Sol, also known as Dev Sol). Court records, however, indicate that he was sentenced to 12 years and six months. At year’s end, Gelir was being held in Sincan F-type Prison.
Utku Deniz Sirkeci, Tavir
Imprisoned: August 6, 1994
Sirkeci, the Ankara bureau chief of the leftist cultural magazine Tavir, was arrested and charged with belonging to the outlawed organization Devrimci Sol (also known as Dev Sol), under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code.
Court records from Sirkeci’s trial show that the state accused him of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a bank in Ankara, but the documents do not state what evidence was introduced to support the allegation. Prosecutors also cited Sirkeci’s attendance at the funeral of a Devrimci Sol activist to support the charge that he was a member of the organization.
In his defense, Sirkeci said he had attended the funeral in his capacity as a journalist. He provided detailed testimony of his torture by police, who, he alleged, coerced him to confess.
He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison and is currently jailed in Sincan F-type Prison.
Aysel Bolucek, Mucadele
Imprisoned: October 11, 1994
Bolucek, an Ankara correspondent for the weekly socialist magazine Mucadele, was arrested at her home and charged with belonging to an outlawed organization under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code, partly on the basis of a handwritten document that allegedly linked her to the banned leftist group Devrimci Sol (also known as Dev Sol). She has been in prison since her arrest.
Court documents from her trial show that the state also cited the October 8, 1994, issue of Mucadele to support its argument that the magazine was a Devrimci Sol publication. The prosecutor claimed that the October 8 issue insulted security forces and state officials and praised Devrimci Sol guerrillas who had been killed in clashes with security forces.
The defense argued that it was illegal for the defendant to be tried twice for the same crime. (Earlier in 1994, Bolucek had been acquitted of the same charges.) The defense accepted the prosecution’s claim that Bolucek had written the document but said that the police forced her to write it under torture while she was in custody. The defense also argued that a legal publication could not be used as evidence, and that the individuals who made incriminating statements about Bolucek to the police had done so under torture and had subsequently recanted. But on December 23, 1994, Bolucek was convicted and sentenced to 12 years and six months in jail.
At year’s end, she was being held in Kutahya Prison.
Ozlem Turk, Mucadele
Imprisoned: January 17, 1995
Turk, a reporter in the town of Samsun for the weekly socialist magazine Mucadele, was arrested at a relative’s home and charged with belonging to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, under Article 169 of the Penal Code. Court documents from her trial state that the prosecution’s evidence included the fact that Turk collected money for Mucadele, along with a handwritten autobiography allegedly found in the home of a party member. Two people testified that she belonged to the group.
Turk maintained that the money she had collected came from selling copies of Mucadele. She also claimed that she was forced to confess to the charges under torture. The only material evidence presented at the trial was copies of legal publications found at her home and copies of her alleged autobiography. Police provided expert testimony to authenticate the allegedly incriminating documents.
According to court documents, Turk was convicted under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code and sentenced to 15 years in prison. At year’s end, she was being held in Kutahya Prison.
Burhan Gardas, Mucadele
Imprisoned: March 23, 1995
Gardas, the Ankara bureau chief for the weekly socialist magazine Mucadele, was prosecuted several times beginning in 1994. Court records state that Gardas was arrested on January 12, 1994, at his office and charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code. During a search of the premises, the police reportedly found four copies of “news bulletins” of the outlawed organization Devrimci Sol (also known as Dev Sol). During the trial, the prosecution claimed that police also found banners with left-wing slogans, along with photographs of Devrimci Sol militants who had been killed in clashes with security forces. The prosecution also claimed that Gardas shouted anti-state slogans during his arrest and that he was using Mucadele‘s office for Devrimci Sol activities.
Gardas denied all the charges. His attorney argued that the illegal publications were part of the magazine’s archive and that Gardas had been tortured in prison. The lawyer submitted a medical report to prove the torture allegation. On May 14, 1994, Gardas was released pending the outcome of his trial.
While awaiting the verdict in the 1994 prosecution, Gardas was arrested on March 23, 1995, when police raided the office of the successor to Mucadele, the weekly socialist magazine Kurtulus, of which he was also the Ankara bureau chief. Officials said he had violated Article 168/2 of the Penal Code because of his alleged membership in the banned organization Devrimci Sol. During the raid, police seized three copies of Kurtulus “news bulletins” and six Kurtulus articles that discussed illegal rallies.
Court documents from his second trial, held at the Number 2 State Security Court of Ankara, reveal that the prosecution’s evidence against Gardas consisted of his refusal to talk during a police interrogation–allegedly a Devrimci Sol policy–and his possession of publications that the prosecution contended were the mouthpieces of outlawed organizations. The state also introduced the testimony of Ali Han, an employee at Kurtulus‘ Ankara bureau, that Gardas was a Devrimci Sol member. Gardas denied the claim, and his lawyer argued that his client had the constitutional right to remain silent during police interrogation.
On July 4, 1995, the Number 1 State Security Court of Ankara sentenced Gardas to 15 years in prison on the 1994 charge. In 1996, he was convicted and sentenced to an additional 15 years for the second set of charges. At year’s end, Gardas was serving his term at Kirsehir Prison.
Ozgur Gudenoglu, Mucadele
Imprisoned: May 24, 1995
Gudenoglu, Konya bureau chief of the socialist weekly magazine Mucadele, was arrested, charged, tried, and convicted under Article 168 of the Penal Code for belonging to an illegal organization. He was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for alleged membership in the outlawed leftist organization Devrimci Sol (also known as Dev Sol). His prosecution is part of the state’s long-standing pattern of harassing Mucadele and its employees.
Gudenoglu was reportedly jailed in Konya Prison.
Fatma Harman, Atilim
Imprisoned: July 10, 1995
Harman, a reporter for the now defunct weekly socialist newspaper Atilim, was taken into custody during a June 15, 1995, police raid on the newspaper’s Mersin bureau. Her colleague Bulent Oner was also detained.
On June 24, 1995, Harman was formally arrested and charged under Article 168 of the Penal Code for allegedly belonging to the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). Atilim‘s lawyer reports that the prosecution based its case on the argument that the MKLP published Atilim. The prosecution introduced copies of Atilim found in Harman’s possession as evidence of her affiliation with the MLKP and claimed that several unspecified “banners” were found in the Atilim office. The prosecution also alleged that Harman and Oner both lived in a house belonging to the MLKP. On January 26, 1996, Harman was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison and jailed in Adana Prison.
Erdal Dogan, Alinteri
Imprisoned: July 10, 1995
Dogan, an Ankara reporter for the now defunct socialist weekly Alinteri, was arrested on July 10, 1995. He was later charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for allegedly belonging to the outlawed Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TIKB).
According to the trial transcript, the prosecution argued that the TIKB published Alinteri. The case against Dogan was based on the following evidence: (1) a photograph of Dogan, taken at a 1992 May Day parade, allegedly showing him standing underneath a United Revolutionary Trade Union banner; (2) a photograph of Dogan taken on the anniversary of a TIKB militant’s death; (3) a photograph alleged to show Dogan attending an illegal demonstration in Ankara; (4) a statement of an alleged member of the TIKB, who claimed that Dogan belonged to the organization.
The defense argued that the allegedly incriminating statement was invalid because it had been extracted under torture. Dogan’s lawyer told CPJ that the photograph from the militant’s memorial was blurry, and Dogan testified in court that he had attended the May Day parade as a journalist. He was convicted, sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison, and jailed in Bursa Prison. At year’s end, he was being held in Gebze Prison.
Sadik Celik, Kurtulus
Imprisoned: December 23, 1995
Celik, Zonguldak bureau chief for the leftist weekly Kurtulus, was detained and charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for allegedly belonging to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
The prosecution claimed that the DHKP-C published Kurtulus and that Celik’s position with the magazine proved he was a member of the group. Celik was accused of conducting “seminars” for the DHKP-C at the magazine’s office, propagandizing for the organization, transporting copies of the magazine from Istanbul to Zonguldak by bus, and organizing the magazine’s distribution in Zonguldak. The prosecution also stated that Celik’s name appeared in a document written by a DHKP-C leader. (It is not clear whether the document was introduced as material evidence.)
The prosecution claimed that Celik’s refusal to speak while in police custody proved his guilt. The defense argued that the prosecution could not substantiate any of its claims. Celik acknowledged having distributed the magazine in his capacity as Kurtulus‘ bureau chief. He said that he held meetings in the office to discuss the magazine’s affairs. The defense presented the statements of two Kurtulus reporters to corroborate Celik’s statements.
On October 17, 1996, Celik was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison.
Mustafa Benli, Hedef
Imprisoned: February 24, 1998
Benli, the owner and editor of the leftist weekly Hedef, was arrested and later charged with “membership in an illegal organization”–a crime under article 168 of the Penal Code. According to court documents, the prosecution charged that Hedef was the mouthpiece of the Turkish Revolutionary Party (TDP), and that authorities had found copies of illegal magazines in Benli’s possession. That, along with articles published in Hedef, was cited as partial proof of Benli’s membership in the organization.
He was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison.
Fikret Baskaya, Ozgur Bakis
Imprisoned: June 29, 2001
Baskaya, an academic and writer for the now defunct, pro-Kurdish daily Ozgur
Bakis, was jailed after a State Security Court sentenced him to 16 months in prison for “separatist propaganda,” a violation of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law.
The case against Baskaya stemmed from a June 1, 1999, column he wrote in Ozgur
Bakis titled “Is this a Historical Process?” The article decried Turkey’s policy toward the country’s Kurdish minority, saying: “Turkish leaders have always considered the Kurdish problem to be one of public order, when it is in fact a national problem, and have thought they could resolve the problem through a chauvinist, racist and nationalist political agenda”
An Istanbul State Security Court convicted him of the charge on June 13, 2000. The sentence was confirmed by the Court of Appeals on January 15, 2001. He is jailed in Kalecik Prison near Ankara.
UNITED STATES: 1
Vanessa Leggett, free-lancer
Imprisoned: July 20, 2001
Leggett, a Houston-based free-lancer, was jailed without bail after refusing to hand over research for a book she was writing about the 1997 murder of Houston socialite Doris Angleton. Leggett, who is believed to have served in prison longer than any journalist in U.S. history, was released on January 4.
The journalist, 33, was asked to give her research materials to a federal grand jury. These materials include tapes of interviews she conducted with murder suspect Roger Angleton, the victim’s brother-in-law, shortly before he committed suicide.
Since the Watergate era, federal prosecutors have needed permission from the U.S. attorney general before ordering a journalist to reveal his or her sources. The last federal jailing of journalists was in 1991, when four journalists were briefly detained for refusing to testify in a corruption trial.
Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker was quoted in the fall issue of The News Media & The Law as saying, “She was not handled as a member of the media, so [the department] would not have followed the procedure that we have laid out for subpoenas of members of the media.”
Leggett, who was clearly investigating a news story for public dissemination, refused to comply with the subpoena, citing confidentiality of her sources. In a closed hearing on July 19, District Judge Melinda Harmon found Leggett in contempt of court and gave her a one-day grace period to surrender to authorities. Leggett turned herself in on July 20.
Leggett’s lawyer, Mike DeGeurin, filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit asking that bail be granted immediately and that the appeal be handled in an expedited manner. The court refused bail but granted the request for an expedited appeal hearing, which was held on August 15.
The Appeals Court denied requests by news organizations to argue on Leggett’s behalf during the hearing. Initially, the court had closed the hearing to the public, but after the news organizations filed an emergency motion, the courtroom was opened on August 14.
During the August 15 hearing before a three-judge panel, Justice Department attorney Paula Offenhauser acknowledged, under questioning, that prosecutors were not sure what they were after.
But on August 17, the panel of the Appeals Court upheld Judge Harmon’s ruling, saying, “The district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Leggett incarcerated for contempt.” DeGeurin told CPJ that the Appeals Court panel assumed Leggett to be a journalist but contended that reporter’s privilege carries less weight in a federal grand jury investigation.
DeGeurin appealed to the full court, but his request for a rehearing was denied in November. The Appeals Court also denied DeGeurin’s motion to release Leggett during the appeals process.
DeGeurin then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on December 31 asking for a review of the appeals court decision.
Leggett was released on January 4, 2002, the day the grand jury’s term expired. “I’m very grateful to be free. I don’t think anyone realizes how precious freedom is until it’s threatened or taken away from them,” Leggett told CPJ shortly after her release.
The appeal before the Supreme Court, however, remained important because Leggett could still be summoned as a witness in any future trial related to the Angleton murder. She could also face criminal contempt charges.
At press time, the Supreme Court was still reviewing the case.
Shodi Mardiev, Samarkand Radio
Imprisoned: June 11, 1998
Mardiev, a 63-year-old reporter with the state-run Samarkand Radio, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The journalist, who is known for his criticism of government officials and for his satirical writings in the journal Mushtum, was found guilty of slandering an official in a program satirizing the alleged corruption of the Samarkand deputy prosecutor, and of attempting to extort money from him.
CPJ believes the prosecution and prison term were in reprisal for the journalist’s critical stance toward government officials. His sentence was later cut in half under President Islam Karimov’s decrees of April 30, 1999, and August 28, 2000.
Mardiev was held in Penal Colony 64/47 in the town of Kizil-tepa in the Navoi Region. Local human rights groups say many political prisoners are sent to this particular correctional facility. Prisoners are allowed only one visit every three months and may receive only one package every four months from outside the prison. The prison is also notorious for its poor medical facilities and food services.
Mardiev’s physical and mental health deteriorated as a result of these poor conditions. Shortly after his arrest in November 1997, the journalist suffered two cerebral hemorrhages while in a pretrial detention center. He was hospitalized twice last year for a heart condition and did not receive the medical attention he urgently needed.
On January 5, 2002, Mardiev was released under an August 22, 2001, presidential amnesty marking the 10th anniversary of the country’s independence from the former Soviet republic. Human rights advocates in the capital, Tashkent, say an estimated 18,000 ordinary prisoners were released under the decree, along with 700 religious and political detainees. Mardiev was eligible for early release because he is over 60 and had already served a portion of his sentence.
Muhammad Bekjanov, Erk
Iusuf Ruzimuradov, Erk
Imprisoned: March 15, 1999
Bekjanov, editor of Erk, a newspaper published by the banned opposition Erk party, and Ruzimuradov, an employee of the paper, were sentenced to 14 years and 15 years in prison, respectively, at an August 1999 trial in the capital, Tashkent. They were convicted for distributing a banned newspaper containing slanderous criticism of President Islam Karimov, participating in a banned political protest, and attempting to overthrow the regime. In addition, the court found them guilty of illegally leaving the country and damaging their Uzbek passports.
Both men were tortured during their six-month pretrial detention in the Tashkent City Prison. Their health is deteriorating as a result of conditions in the prison camp where they are currently held.
According to human-rights activists in Tashkent, Bekjanov was transferred on November 27 to “strict-regime” Penal Colony 64/46 in the city of Navoi in central Uzbekistan. He has lost considerable weight and, like many prisoners in Uzbek camps, suffers from malnutrition. Local sources have informed CPJ that Ruzimuradov is being held in “strict regime” Penal Colony 64/33 in the village of Shakhali near the town of Karshi.
Madzhid Abduraimov, Yangi Asr
Imprisoned: August 1, 2001
Abduraimov, a correspondent with the national weekly Yangi Asr, was convicted of extortion and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
In a January 15 article in Yangi Asr, Abduraimov charged that Nusrat Radzhabov, head of the Boysunsky District grain production company Zagotzerno, had misappropriated state funds and falsified documents.
Abduraimov also accused the businessman of killing a 12-year-old in a car accident and alleged that Radzhabov’s teenage son was part of a group that had beaten and raped a 13-year-old boy.
Radzhabov claims that Abduraimov asked him for money and threatened to publish more accusations unless he was paid. According to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Radzhabov tried to sue Abduraimov for slander, but dropped the suit after a local prosecutor’s investigation confirmed the facts in the article.
Authorities arrested Abduraimov and accused him of receiving a US$6,000 bribe. He and a witness quoted by the IWPR claimed that a man threw the money into the back seat of his car immediately before police stopped his vehicle, searched it, and arrested him.
Abduraimov was held in Termez Regional Police Department jail until his trial began in Termez City Court on July 4.
According to Abduraimov, the court proceedings were influenced by local officials who objected to his reporting on corruption in the oil business. His request for a change of venue was not granted. He refused to attend the hearings and was sentenced in absentia.
Abduraimov is known for his investigative reporting and critical stance toward local law enforcement bodies and authorities. The journalist and his family have been persecuted for several years with threatening phone calls, and his son was reportedly beaten by police and sentenced to four months in jail for disorderly conduct.
Supporters say Abduraimov was most likely framed, and it is not known where he is being held. His family plans to appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court.
Nguyen Thanh Giang, free-lancer
Imprisoned: March 4, 1999
Giang, a prominent writer and geophysicist, was arrested by police in Hanoi for allegedly possessing “anti-socialist propaganda.”
Vietnamese authorities had frequently harassed Giang for his published writings about corruption within the Communist Party. Giang’s political essays–which dealt with such issues as peaceful reform, multiparty democracy, and human rights–regularly appeared on Internet sites and in newspapers published by Vietnamese living in exile. His arrest followed a series of articles in the government-controlled press arguing that dissidents posed a threat to the state.
On May 10, 1999, Giang was released on bail after an international campaign on his behalf. However, he remained under house arrest in 2001, with his activities closely monitored.
Ha Sy Phu, free-lancer
Imprisoned: May 12, 2000
Nguyen Xuan Tu, a scientist and political essayist better known by his pen name, Ha Sy Phu, was placed under house arrest and charged with treason, a crime punishable by death. The arrest came after an April 28 raid on Ha’s home in Dalat, Lam Dong Province, during which police confiscated a computer, a printer, and several diskettes. They returned on May 12 with orders for his arrest signed by Col. Nguyen Van Do, police chief of Lam Dong Province.
The case began when officials suspected that Ha had helped draft a pro-democracy declaration, according to CPJ sources, and it continued with the government’s long-term harassment of the writer. Ha was held under Administrative Detention Directive 31/CP, which provides for indefinite house arrest without due process, and was required to report daily to the Dalat police for interrogation.
Though the treason charge against Ha Sy Phu was withdrawn in January 2001, he remained under house arrest at year’s end.