Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Liamine Zeroual
President of the High Council of State
The Presidential Palace
Djamel Eddine Fahassi, Alger Chaîne III
Detained: May 7, 1995
Men presumed to be state security officials detained Fahassi, a reporter for the government-run French-language radio station Alger Chaîne III and formerly a contributor to Al-Forqane, a weekly organ of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) that was banned in March 1992. Officials have refused to acknowledge his arrest.
Aziz Bouabdallah, Al-Alam al-Siyassi
Detained: April 12, 1997
Bouabdallah, a reporter for the Arabic-language daily Al-Alam al-Siyassi, was abducted by three armed men from his home in Algiers. The men, believed to be Algerian security agents, forced Bouabdallah into a waiting car. CPJ later received information that Algerian authorities were holding Bouabdallah in an Algiers detention center. He was reported to have been tortured repeatedly. Authorities have denied any knowledge of his detention.
Please send appeals to:
Predident Mathieu Kerekou
c/o Embassy of the Republic of Benin
2737 Cathedral Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Maurice Chabi, Les Echos du Jour
Pascal Zantou, Les Echos du Jour
Imprisoned: December 15, 1998
Chabi and Zantou, respectively chief editor and reporter for the independent daily Les Echos du Jour, each received a six-month prison sentence for libel. Education Minister Léonard Padonou Jijoho filed the complaint against the journalists in response to the publication of an article in the newspaper's August 26 edition which reported he had misappropriated public funds.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Gen. Than Shwe
Prime Minister and Minister of Defense
Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council
Ministry of Defense
Signal Pagoda Road
U Win Tin
Imprisoned: July 4, 1989
U Win Tin, a former editor of two daily newspapers and vice chair of Burma's Writers Association, was arrested and sentenced to three years' hard labor. The sentence was subsequently extended by 10 years in 1992. His arrest is believed to have been for his opposition activities. U Win Tin was active in establishing independent publications during the 1988 student democracy movement, and he also worked closely with National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and was reportedly one of her closest advisers. Prison authorities again extended U Win Tin's
sentence on March 28, 1996, by seven years, after they convicted him of smuggling letters describing conditions at Rangoon's Insein Prison to Yozo Yokota, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Burma. He is reported to be in very poor health, and was transferred to Rangoon General Hospital in 1997.
U Maung Maung Lay Ngwe, Pe-Tin-Tan
Imprisoned: September 1990
U 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-Tan. In 1998, CPJ was unable to obtain new information on his status.
U Myo Myint Nyein, U Sein Hlaing, What's Happening
Imprisoned: September 1990
U Myo Myint Nyein and U Sein Hlaing were arrested for contributing to the preparation, planning, and publication of the satirical news magazine What's Happening, which the Burmese government claims is anti-government propaganda. They were sentenced to seven years in prison. On March 28, 1996, they were among 21 prisoners tried inside Insein Prison and given an additional seven-year sentence under the Emergency Provisions Act for smuggling letters describing prison conditions to Yozo Yokota, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Burma. In 1998, CPJ was unable to obtain new information about their status.
Daw San San Nwe
U Sein Hla Oo
Imprisoned: August 5, 1994
Dissident writer San San Nwe and journalist Sein Hla Oo were arrested on charges of spreading information damaging to the state and contacting anti-government groups. They were sentenced on October 6, 1994, to 10 years and seven years in prison, respectively. Three other dissidents, including a former UNICEF worker, were sentenced to between seven and 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. San San Nwe allegedly met two French reporters visiting Burma in April 1993 and appeared in a video they produced to spread propaganda about the government. Both U Sein Hla Oo and Daw San San Nwe were previously imprisoned for their involvement in the National League for Democracy, Burma's main pro-democracy party. As of December 1994, all five were being held at the Insein Prison in Rangoon. In 1998, CPJ was unable to obtain new information about their status.
Ma Myat Mo Mo Tun
Ma Myat Mo Mo Tun, the daughter of imprisoned writer Daw San San Nwe, was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading information injurious to the state. She is alleged to have recorded "defamatory letters and documents," made contact with "illegal" groups, and sent anti-government articles to a journal published by an expatriate group. In 1998, CPJ was unable to obtain new information about her status.
Imprisoned: September 27, 1995
Ye Htut was arrested on charges of sending fabricated news abroad to Burmese dissidents and opposition media, and sentenced to seven years in prison. Among the organizations to which Ye Htut allegedly confessed sending reports was the Thailand-based Burma Information Group (BIG), which publishes the human rights newsletter The Irrawaddy. Burma's official media claimed that BIG had presented a false picture of the country to foreign governments and human rights organizations. In 1998, CPJ was unable to obtain new information on his status.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Paul Biya
President of the Republic of Cameroon
Presidential Palace, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Michel Michaut Moussala, Aurore Plus
Imprisoned: September 3, 1998
Moussala, editor of Aurore Plus, was convicted of defaming Jean Tchoussa Moussa Mbatkam, director general of the National Ports Department of Cameroon (ONPC) and a deputy of the ruling Rassemblement Democratique du Peuple Camerounais (RDPC) party. He was sentenced to six months in prison and fined one million CFA (US$1,783). In addition, the newspaper was ordered to suspend publication for six months.
The suit cited a December 16, 1997, Aurore Plus article titled "ONPC, Tome II, Tchoussa Moussa at the Centre of a Failed Coup," which reported that Moussa had taken advantage of his position as director of the ONPC to stage a coup d'état. Moussala was arrested on September 3, 1998, by police officers who presented a warrant that had been issued shortly after his January conviction.
Please send appeals to:
President, State Council
People's Republic of China
Hu Liping, The Beijing Daily
Imprisoned: April 7, 1990
Hu, a staff member of The Beijing Daily newspaper, was arrested on April 7, 1990, 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. He was sentenced by the Beijing Intermediate People's Court to a term of 10 years in prison on August 15, 1990, and he is being held in the Beijing Municipal Prison.
Zhang Yafei, Tielu
Imprisoned: September 1990
Zhang, a former student at Beifang Communications University, was arrested and charged with dissemination of counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement. In March 1991, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years without political rights after his release. Zhang edited Tielu (Iron Currents), an unofficial magazine about the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
Chen Yanbin, Tielu
Imprisoned: Late 1990
Chen, a former university student, was arrested in late 1990 and sentenced to 15 years in prison and four years without political rights after his release. Together with Zhang Yafei, he had produced Tielu (Iron Currents), an unofficial magazine about the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square. Several hundred mimeographed copies of the magazine were distributed. The government termed the publication "reactionary" and charged Chen with disseminating counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement.
Liu Jingsheng, Tansuo
Imprisoned: May 1992
Liu, a former writer and co-editor of the pro-democracy journal Tansuo, 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 being a member of labor and pro-democracy groups, including the Liberal Democratic Party of China, Free Labor Union of China, and the Chinese Progressive Alliance. Court documents stated 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.
Wu Shishen, Xinhua News Agency
Imprisoned: October or November 1992
Arrested in the fall of 1992, Wu, a Xinhua News Agency reporter, received a life sentence in August 1993 for allegedly providing a Hong Kong journalist with a "state-classified" advance copy of President Jiang Zemin's 14th Party Congress address.
Imprisoned: April 1993
Bai, who once worked for the Chinese Foreign Ministry monitoring foreign news and writing news summaries, was sentenced in May 1993 to 10 years in prison for passing information and leaking national secrets to Lena Sun, a correspondent for the Washington Post. His appeal was rejected in July 1993. His wife, Zhao Lei, also arrested for the same offense, was released in 1996.
Ma Tao, China Health Education News
Sentenced: August 1993
Ma, editor of China Health Education News, received a six-year prison term for allegedly helping Xinhua News Agency reporter Wu Shishen provide a Hong Kong journalist with President Jiang Zemin's "state-classified" 14th Party Congress address. According to the Associated Press, Ma is believed to be Wu's wife.
Gao Yu, free-lancer
Imprisoned: October 2, 1993
Gao was detained two days before she was to depart for the United States to start a one-year research fellowship at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. On November 10, 1994, she was tried without counsel and sentenced to six years in prison for "leaking state secrets" about China's structural reforms in articles for the pro-Beijing Hong Kong magazine Mirror Monthly. Gao had previously been jailed for 14 months following the June 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and released in August 1990 after showing symptoms of a heart condition. In January 1997, Chinese authorities rejected an appeal for bail on medical grounds. Several international organizations, including CPJ, renewed the call for her release in 1998 when her family reported that her physical condition had seriously deteriorated, but the Chinese authorities again rejected the appeal.
Khang Yuchun, Freedom Forum
Sentenced: December 1994
Khang was tried with 16 others on charges of being members of counter-revolutionary organizations, most notably the Chinese Progressive Alliance, the Liberal Democratic Party of China, and the Free Labor Union of China. Among the accusations against him was that he commissioned people to write articles and set up Freedom Forum, the magazine of the Chinese Progressive Alliance. He was sentenced in December 1994 to 12 years in prison for "organizing and leading a counter-revolutionary group" and an additional seven-year imprisonment for "counter-revolutionary propaganda."
Imprisoned: November 1996
Wang was sentenced to three years' re-education through labor for writing "Declarations on Citizens' Freedom of Speech," an open letter which called on the government to release dissidents Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan. He is being held in Xishanping Reeducation Brigade in Sichuan Province.
Lin Hai, software entrepreneur
Imprisoned: March 25, 1998
Lin, a software entrepreneur and computer engineer, was arrested and charged with "inciting the overthrow of state power" for giving e-mail addresses of 30,000 Chinese residents to VIP Reference, an on-line magazine published in the United States which supports democratic reform in China. Lin was tried by the Shanghai Number One Intermediate People's Court on December 4. The four-hour trial was closed to the public. He told the court that he was innocent, and that he provided the addresses to VIP Reference in the hope that he could eventually exchange e-mail addresses with the magazine to build up his Internet business, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China. VIP Reference used the addresses to expand its distribution of articles on human rights and democracy within mainland China. On January 20, 1999, the court announced that it had found Lin guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison.
Shi Binhai, China Economic Times
Imprisoned: September 5, 1998
Shi, an editor with the Beijing-based China Economic Times newspaper in Beijing, was taken from his home by National Security Ministry personnel on September 5. The Security Ministry did not give an explanation for the arrest, nor did it inform Shi's family where he was being held. A leading voice in Beijing journalism, Shi is also the editor of the best-selling book Political China: Facing the Era of Choosing a New Structure, a groundbreaking collection of 39 essays by journalists, academics, and former government officials calling for political reform. Sources in China fear that Shi was arrested as a result of his work on the book. A Shanghai native, he was imprisoned in 1989 for his role in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. He was released in 1991. As of December 31, no charges had been announced against Shi, and he had not been tried or convicted of any crime.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Fidel Castro
President of Cuba
c/o Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations
315 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10016 United States
Lorenzo Páez Núñez, Buró de Prensa Independiente de Cuba
Imprisoned: July 10, 1997
Released: January 4, 1999
Páez Núñez, then a correspondent with the independent news agency Buró de Prensa Independiente de Cuba (BPIC), was detained on July 10, 1997, because of a report he published on the Internet about a police officer who allegedly killed a young man during harvest celebrations in Pinar del Río. Páez Núñez was convicted after a one-day trial, for which he was not permitted to have a lawyer. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for defaming the national police. On December 19, 1997, CPJ sent a letter to the Cuban authorities, asking for information on Páez Núñez's legal status. On January 20, 1998, CPJ sent a letter asking that Páez Núñez be released. He was released on January 4, 1999.
Bernardo Rogelio Arévalo Padrón, Línea Sur Press
Imprisoned: November 18, 1997
State Security officers in Aguada de Pasajeros detained and jailed Arévalo Padrón, a correspondent with the Línea Sur Press news agency in Cienfuegos Province. He had been sentenced to six years in prison on October 31, 1997, by the Provincial Chamber of the Court of Aguada de Pasajeros, after being convicted of a "lack of respect" for President Fidel Castro and Carlos Lage, a member of the Cuban State Council. The conviction stems from a story Arévalo Padrón published on the Internet, reporting that a helicopter transported meat from a farm in Aguada de Pasajeros to Havana for Cuba's political elite, despite the fact that the people of Aguada de Pasajeros did not have enough to eat.
Arévalo Padrón is serving his sentence in Ariza Prison in Cienfuegos, where he shares a filthy cell with common criminals. On November 28, 1997, an Aguada de Pasajeros court rejected Arévalo Padrón's petition to review the conviction. On December 19, 1997, CPJ wrote to Cuban authorities inquiring about Arévalo Padrón's legal status. On January 20, 1998, CPJ again wrote to Cuban authorities, asking for Arévalo Padrón's release.
On December 19, 1998, Arévalo Padrón wrote a letter to President Castro, saying that the Spanish government
had granted him a visa, and asking that he be allowed to leave Cuba.
Juan Carlos Recio Martínez, CubaPress
Imprisoned: June 15, 1998
Authorities detained Recio Martínez, correspondent for the independent news agency CubaPress in the province of Villa Clara, and interrogated him for six days. The inquiry stemmed from an incident in the fall of 1997, when Cecilio Monteagudo Sánchez, a member of the dissident Democratic Solidarity Party (PSD), asked Recio Martínez to type a leaflet calling on Cubans to abstain from voting in the local October elections. Recio Martínez refused Monteagudo's request, but did not report the incident to authorities.
Recio Martínez was questioned again on November 3, 1997. He was charged with "acts against state security," but was released pending his trial, which was set for November 25, 1997. That court date was postponed. He was tried and convicted by the People's Provincial Tribunal of Villa Clara on February 6, 1998, and sentenced to a year of correctional labor.
Recio Martínez began serving his sentence on June 15, 1998, in the Abel Santamaría agricultural cooperative in Villa Clara Province. On June 18, CPJ sent a letter to President Fidel Castro saying that even though Recio Martínez is permitted to leave the cooperative after his work is completed each day, CPJ views mandatory forced labor as a form of confinement and therefore considers Recio Martínez to be a prisoner.
Manuel Antonio González Castellanos, CubaPress
Imprisoned: October 1, 1998
State Security agents arrested Gonzélez Castellanos, a correspondent for the independent news service CubaPress, on charges of "sedition" (desacato) in San Germán, Holguín Province.
According to his colleagues and relatives, González Castellanos was arrested after making critical statements about President Castro to State Security agents who had stopped him and insulted him as he was returning from a friend's house.
When family members learned of González Castellanos' detention and tried to contact him at the local police station the following morning, they were met by a group of protesters who insulted them. Relatives of the journalist were so indignant that they painted "Abajo Fidel" (Down with Fidel) on the walls of their house. Later that day, an estimated 2,000 people gathered outside González Castellanos' home and screamed insults. State Security agents broke into his home, and beat and arrested two of González Castellanos' relatives along with a political dissident who was also present. One of the relatives was released after a few days, but was told she could be imprisoned. According to local sources, many of the protesters who gathered in front of González Castellanos' home were farm workers who had been told they would be docked a day's pay if they did not participate in the demonstration. After the protest rally, the family's phone was cut off for nearly a week.
While the sedition charges against González Castellanos stem from an interaction that is unrelated to his journalistic work, local journalists suspect that González Castellanos was deliberately provoked by State Security agents in retaliation for news reports filed from Holgu'n about the activities of political dissidents. CPJ wrote a letter to President Castro on October 16, condemning the imprisonment of González Castellanos.
In July, González Castellanos was contacted by a man claiming to have information for him from a Cuban exile in Miami. When they met, the source questioned González Castellanos about his journalistic work and told him that a Cuban exile group wanted to recruit him for subversive activities. González Castellanos declined the offer and later determined that the man with whom he had met had never been in touch with the exiles in Miami he claimed to represent. González Castellanos believed the man was a State Security agent attempting to entrap him.
González Castellanos has been harassed by guards, who have confiscated a book, Academic Journalism, and letters. As of December, González Castellanos had not been brought before a judge.
Democratic Republic of Congo (2)
Please send appeals to:
President of the Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Fax: 011-243-88-02120 / 1-202-234-2609
Albert Bonsange Yema, L'Alarme, L'Essor Africain
Imprisoned: February 7, 1998
Yema, editor of the opposition newspapers L'Alarme and L'Essor Africain, was arrested in connection with a February 7 article, published in both newspapers, calling for the release of jailed opposition leader Joseph Olengankoy.
On June 1, the State Security Court convicted Yema of "threatening state security" and sentenced him to one year in prison. He is serving his sentence in Makala Central Prison. Yema is a diabetic, and is now receiving treatment at the general hospital in Kinshasa. Yema's conviction contravenes the country's press law, which only allows for civil penalties in this case because Yema is not the author of the article in contention.
Mbakulu Pambu Diambu, Radio-télévision Matadi (RTM)
Imprisoned: November, 1998
Diambu, president of the local chapter of the Congolese Press Union (UPC) and a broadcaster with the private station Radio-télévision Matadi (RTM), was arrested in late November and detained at the Matadi National Information Agency (ANR) offices. Diambu appeared before the Kinshasa Military Court and was charged with breaching state security for hosting an RTM television program on which he allegedly interviewed representatives of the Congolese Rally for Democracy rebel forces.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Office of the Prime Minister
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sisay Negussie, Agere
Imprisoned: March 1997
Sisay appeared before a court on April 7, 1997, and was detained at Kerchele Prison for failing to present a bail guarantee of approximately US$600. At press time, CPJ had no further information about his status.
Samson Seyoum, Tequami and Agere
Imprisoned: April 18, 1997
Samson, former editor in chief of Agere and Tequami, was sentenced to an undisclosed prison term for "inciting war and spreading Islamic Fundamentalism," in articles he had published in Agere. Detained before the sentencing and unable to produce the bail of approximately US$730, Samson had just completed an 18-month prison sentence which he had begun in December 1995 after his conviction on charges of libel for an article in Tequami.
Sisay Agena, Ethiop
Imprisoned: September 8, 1997
Sisay, publisher of Ethiop, was arrested on September 8 on unknown charges, and detained. He was released on bail on September 10, but on September 16 he was taken back into custody and moved from the Region 14 Criminal Investigation Office to the Central Criminal Investigation Office Prison.
Tamrat Gemeda, Seife Nebelbal
Imprisoned: October 1997
Tamrat, former editor in chief of Seife Nebelbal, was arrested on charges of involvement with the guerrilla organization, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
Tamrat Serbessa, Wenchif
Imprisoned: October 14, 1997
Tamrat, editor in chief of Wenchif, was detained at the Central Criminal Investigation Office Prison. The journalist was charged on five counts, including libel against President Negasso Gidada. This charge stemmed from a report in Wenchif that claimed the president was drunk at a gathering.
Tesfaye Deressa, Urjii
Solomon Nemera, Urjii
Imprisoned: October 16, 1997
Tesfaye, editor in chief of the newspaper Urjii, and Solomon, the paper's deputy editor, were abducted from a tea room near Urjii's offices. The journalists were first detained at the Central Criminal Investigation Office Prison and were later taken to a district police prison. The two were held on charges related to a report in Urjii about the recent killing of alleged Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) members in the Mekanissa area. The article contradicted the government media's version of the same story.
Tesfaye and Solomon appeared three times before a district court, but the proceedings were postponed each time because of requests by police for more time to continue their investigation. After the journalists' court appearance on December 12, 1997, police said they had concluded their investigation but were awaiting the prosecutor's decision about bail. No decision had been made when Tesfaye and Solomon appeared again in court on December 19, 1997. They were scheduled for another court appearance on January 9, 1998. At press time, CPJ had no new information on their status.
Garoma Bekele, Urjii
Imprisoned: October 27, 1997
Garoma, publisher of the newspaper Urjii, was detained on suspicion of being a member of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Garoma is being held at the Central Investigation Office Prison along with others who have been detained for their alleged connection to a series of OLF bombings in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, and Harar. On October 31, 1997, Garoma appeared in court and made an appeal for release on bail, but was denied by the prosecutor. He was given a new court appointment for January 13, 1998. At press time, CPJ had no new information on his status.
Fisseha Alemu, Tarik
Imprisoned: March 24, 1998
Police arrested Fisseha, editor in chief of the Amharic-language independent weekly newspaper Tarik, and held him at the Ma'ekelawi Central Criminal Investigation Office.
Authorities would not provide an explanation for Fisseha's arrest, but local journalists believe it was in connection with an article published in Tarik on January 31 which reported that Ethiopian orthodox monks from the Tigray region were engaged in cannabis production. Fisseha was later transported to the Addis Ababa Central Prison, where he is currently being held.
Wondwossen Asfaw, Atkurot
Imprisoned: April 1998
Wondwossen, editor in chief of the privately owned newspaper Atkurot, was detained on unspecified charges at the Addis Ababa Central Prison. He remains in prison, because he was unable to post bail of 10,000 birr ($US1,500).
Tesfa Tegegn, Beza
Imprisoned: June 19, 1998
Tesfa, the former editor in chief of the privately owned newspaper Beza, was detained and held at Addis Ababa Central Prison on unspecified charges. This was Tesfa's second incarceration during 1998. He had been detained in March and was released on June 10 on bail of 2,000 birr (US$286).
Tilahun Bekele, Fetash
Imprisoned: September 1998
Tilahun, editor in chief of Fetash, was detained during the last week of September at the Ma'ekelawi Central Criminal Investigation Prison Office on charges of libel against the Crown Mineral Water Company.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Omar Bongo
President of the Republic of Gabon
Fax: 233 21 664 089
Michel Ongoundou-Loundah, La Griffe
Raphael Ntoutoume Nkoghe, La Griffe
Pulcherie Beaumel, La Griffe
Imprisoned: August 12, 1998
Publication director Ongoundou-Loundah, editor in chief Nkoghe, and reporter Beaumel of the private weekly La Griffe, were each sentenced to eight months in prison and fined 3,000,000 CFA (US$5,000) in damages and interest payable to Air Gabon Director General René Morvan. The case was in connection with an article published in a June issue of La Griffe reporting that Morvan was involved in ivory trafficking.
Please send appeals to:
President Saddam Hussein
c/o Iraqi Mission to the United Nations
14 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10021 United States
Aziz al-Syed Jasim, Al-Ghad
Imprisoned: April 18, 1991
Jasim, editor of Al-Ghad magazine and former editor of the official daily Al-Thawra, was taken into custody at a secret police station in Baghdad and has not been heard from since. Reports suggest that his refusal to write a book about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein precipitated his arrest. Government officials deny that he is in prison.
Please send appeals to:
His Highness Sheikh Sa’ad al-Abdallah al-Sabah,
Crown Prince and Prime Minister
Kuwait City, Kuwait
His Highness Sheikh Sa'ad al-Abdallah al-Sabah
Kuwait City, Kuwait Fax: +965-243-0121
Ibtisam Berto Sulaiman al-Dakhil, Al-Nida
Fawwaz Muhammad al-Awadi Bessisso, Al-Nida
Usamah Suhail Abdallah Hussein, Al-Nida
Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Asad al-Husseini, Al-Nida
Ahmad Abd Mustafa, Al-Nida
Sentenced: June 1991
The five journalists were given life sentences for working for the Iraqi occupation newspaper Al-Nida. They were taken into custody after Kuwait's Liberation and charged with collaboration. The trials, which began on May 19, 1991, in martial-law courts, failed to comply with international standards of justice. The defendants were reportedly tortured during their interrogations. Their defense--that they were coerced to work for the Iraqi newspaper--was not rebutted by prosecutors. 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 terms.
Please send appeals to:
Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi
c/o Libyan Mission to the United Nations
309-315 E. 48th St.
New York, NY 10017 United States
Abdallah Ali al-Sanussi al-Darrat
Arrested: 1974 or 1975
Al-Darrat, a journalist and writer from Benghazi, was arrested without trial. Since the time of his arrest, there has been no new information about his case.
Please send appeals to:
President Didier Ratsirka
c/o Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar
2374 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008 United States
Harry Rahajason, L'Express de Madagascar
Christian Chatefaux, L'Express de Madagascar
Sentenced: December 28, 1998
The Magistrate Court sentenced Chatefaux and Rahajason, editor in chief and reporter, respectively, for the newspaper L'Express de Madagascar, to three-month prison terms for contempt of court. The contempt citation stemmed from a case filed by the public prosecutor of the Antsirabe Republic, who had sued the newspaper for allegedly insulting a magistrate in a June 1997 article. Chatefaux was sentenced for delaying the publication of the plaintiff's response to the article.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency General Abdulsalami Abubakar
Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council
and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
State House, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Niran Malaolu, The Diet
Imprisoned: December 27, 1997
A special military tribunal (SMT) in Jos arraigned Malaolu, editor of the daily newspaper The Diet, for alleged involvement in a coup plot. He had been arrested without charge at the paper's offices. On April 28, 1998, Malaou was tried and convicted by the tribunal for "information gathering" and "implication in the alleged coup plot of December 1997," and sentenced to life imprisonment with no right of appeal. On July 10, Malaolu's sentence was reduced to 15 years. He is currently in jail in Katsina Prison, where he is reportedly critically ill and denied medical treatment.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Alberto K. Fujimori
President of the Republic of Peru
Palacio de Gobierno
Lima 1, Peru
Javier Tuanama Valera, Hechos
Imprisoned: October 16, 1990
Tuanama, editor in chief of the magazine Hechos, was sentenced in 1992 to 15 years in prison by a "faceless" judge from the Superior Court of Lambayeque. (In Peru, "faceless" judges hide their identities to prevent reprisals by guerrilla groups.) He was first detained on October 16, 1990, and charged with having links to the rebel group Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).
Tuanama was acquitted twice of the charges in 1994. He was released, but was soon arrested again when a former member of the MRTA--acting under the Repentance Law, which allows terrorists to surrender and inform on former comrades--confessed that Tuanama had recruited him into the group. The same individual later recanted, but Tuanama remained in Picsi Prison in the northern city of Chiclayo. After a second trial, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
CPJ protested Tuanama's conviction in a trial that fell far below international standards of due process. In June 1995, one of Tuanama's sisters complained that his medical condition was deteriorating because he had no access to medical care for his acute arthritis. In April 1996, he was transferred to the Huacaris Prison in Cajamarca.
CPJ inquired about Tuanama's legal status in a December 22, 1997, letter to which Peruvian authorities did not reply. His case remains under review by the ad hoc commission that was established by President Alberto K. Fujimori in 1996 to examine the files of those convicted under Peru's anti-terrorism laws.
Hermes Rivera Guerrero, Radio Oriental
Imprisoned: May 8, 1992
Rivera, a reporter for Radio Oriental in Jaén Province, Cajamarca Department, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for alleged terrorist activity. Rivera reported that Idelfonso Ugarte, a policeman, originally arrested him without charge on May 8, 1992, and later brought the charges against him. Rivera's wife, Dilsia Miranda, accused the officer of demanding US$500 for the release of her husband and making uninvited sexual advances toward her. When she refused him, Miranda said, Ugarte apparently falsified evidence to show Rivera's participation in terrorist attacks.
On January 26, 1995, Rivera, who was being held at Picsi Prison in Chiclayo, sewed his mouth closed and began a three-week hunger strike to protest his sentence. On March 7, 1995, his defense lawyer appealed for a review of Rivera's case by the Supreme Court of Peru. The court overturned the 20-year sentence on September 5, 1995, and ordered a retrial.
CPJ sent a letter of inquiry on December 22, 1997, but Peruvian authorities did not provide any information on Rivera's legal status. In December 1998, his case was still under review by the ad hoc commission that was established by President Alberto K. Fujimori in 1996 to examine the files of those convicted under Peru's anti-terrorism laws.
Pedro Carranza Ugaz, Radio Oriental
Imprisoned: November 29, 1993
Carranza, a correspondent with Radio Oriental in Jaén Province, Cajamarca Department, was detained on November 29, 1993, and sentenced on November 7, 1994, to 20 years in prison for being a member of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). He is currently being held in Huacaris Prison in Cajamarca. In December 1998, his case remained under review by the ad hoc commission that was established by President Alberto K. Fujimori in 1996 to examine the files of those convicted under Peru's anti-terrorism laws.
Augusto Ernesto Llosa Giraldo, El Casmeno, Radio Casma
Imprisoned: February 14, 1995
Llosa, editor in chief of the newspaper El Casmeno and a reporter with Radio Casma, was arrested in the northern city of Casma and charged with involvement in a 1986 terrorist incident in Cuzco, where he was staying in a hotel at the time. Police raided his home and confiscated several documents, including National Association of Journalists (ANP) posters urging the release of several detained journalists, and an issue of ANP's newsletter.
A secret tribunal of the Fifth Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Cuzco convicted Llosa, and he was sentenced to six years in prison on August 1, 1995. Three weeks after the verdict, he was unexpectedly transferred to the maximum security Yanamayo Prison. Llosa petitioned the Supreme Court for the nullification of his sentence and was granted a retrial. On June 30, 1997, he was convicted again and sentenced to five years in prison. Llosa again requested the sentence be nullified.
CPJ sent a letter inquiring about Llosa's legal status on December 22, 1997, but received no response. In December 1998, his case was still under review by the ad hoc commission that was established by President Alberto K. Fujimori in 1996 to examine the files of those convicted under Peru's anti-terrorism laws.
Johny Eduardo Pezo Tello, Doble A
Imprisoned: November 20, 1998
Pezo Tello, a news program host on radio station Doble A in Yurimaguas, Alto Amazonas Province, Loreto Department, was jailed on charges of terrorism for reading a letter sent by the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) on the air on November 17.
Pezo Tello, host of several news programs and a music show, received a phone call during his music show on November 17 from a man identifying himself as Comrade Rolando of the MRTA. The caller ordered Pezo Tello to read a letter that the MRTA had sent to the radio station, and threatened to harm Pezo Tello and his family if he refused.
Pezo Tello left the radio station, intending to report the threats to the police, but two men who were waiting outside the station cautioned him to heed the caller's demand. After apologizing to the audience and declaring his opposition to MRTA's principles, Pezo Tello read the press release on the air.
On November 19, officers from the National Anti-Terrorism Agency (DINCOTE) arrived at the radio station and took him to the Yurimaguas police station, where they interrogated him. Pezo Tello was summoned to the police station to present a more detailed statement the next day, which he did. On the basis of his testimony, the DINCOTE officers issued a formal statement on November 21, accusing him of supporting terrorism.
On November 21, Pezo Tello was taken before Provincial Attorney Marco Tulio Correa Sánchez, who confirmed the DINCOTE accusation and charged him with having made a statement supporting terrorism. The same day, Yurimaguas Provincial Judge Hugo Zela Campos found there was sufficient evidence to initiate proceedings against Pezo Tello and ordered his arrest. Pezo Tello was transferred from the police station, where he had spent the night of November 20, to the Yurimaguas prison.
CPJ wrote to President Alberto K. Fujimori on December 16, urging Pezo Tello's release.
On December 23, Judge Zela ruled that the charge against Pezo Tello was unwarranted. Because the charge involved terrorism, however, the case was transferred to the Superior Court of Lambayeque for adjudication. The court dismissed the charges and Pezo Tello was released on January 18, 1999.
Please send appeals to:
President Boris Yeltsin
Moscow, Russian Federation
Fax: 011-7-095-206-5173; 206-6277
Grigory Pasko, Boyevaya Vakhta
Imprisoned: November 20, 1997
Pasko, a military officer of the Russian Pacific Fleet and a correspondent for Boyevaya Vakhta, was arrested on November 20, 1997, and jailed in Vladivostok for allegedly passing classified information to foreign agents. The charges stemmed from a series of articles and reports by Pasko in the military newspaper Boyevaya Vakhta, in Japan's Asahi daily, and on the NHK television company of Tokyo that discussed the environmental hazards caused by Russia's decaying nuclear submarine fleet. Pasko was arrested at Vladivostok airport after returning from Japan. Federal Security Bureau (FSB) agents searched his apartment and confiscated documents he had gathered for his investigation, as well as cassettes, books, and his computer.
Although offficials admit that none of the confiscated documents were classified, they claim the series of reports as a whole, published and aired over a three-year period, posed a threat to Russia's national security. The FSB classified the case as a state secret, making it difficult for Pasko's attorneys to mount a proper defense.
On October 14, 1998, a Pacific Fleet naval court in Vladivostok began a closed trial against Pasko, on charges of high treason and revealing state secrets. Pasko's lawyers moved that he be released from custody during the trial. The three presiding judges immediately postponed the proceedings and sent the motion to the Military Board of the Supreme Court in Moscow for review. That court rejected the motion on November 26, and Pasko thus remains in custody. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Altaf Galeyev, Radio Titan
Imprisoned: May 27, 1998
On May 27, 1998, Bashkir police raided the Ufa offices of Radio Titan, the sole independent radio station in the Republic of Bashkortostan, beating and arresting staff members and supporters. Police seized the radio equipment and detained the entire staff, including Galeyev, the manager and news director, and Lilia Ismagilova, the station's executive director. These official reprisals came shortly after Radio Titan aired interviews with three opposition candidates who were barred from the June 14 presidential elections.
Ismagilova and the other staff members were released the next day, but Galeyev was held for firing several shots in the air when police stormed the station's office. On June 4, he was formally charged with "hooliganism" and the illegal use of firearms under Article 213(3) of the Bashkir penal code. Following his arrest, Galeyev was placed in a pre-trial detention center in Ufa. If found guilty, he faces a possible prison sentence of four to seven years. Galeyev, who is in poor health, was allowed to see a lawyer, but no court hearing was held.
On January 5, 1999, a hearing took place to determine whether Galeyev would be released until his trial began. The judge ruled that he must remain in detention. His trial was scheduled to begin on January 21, 1999, but was postponed at the request of Galeyev's lawyer. A new date has yet to be set.
Sierra Leone (11)
Please send appeals to:
President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Dennis Smith, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS)
Gipu Felix George, SLBS
Olivia Mensah, SLBS
Maada Maka Swaray, SLBS
William Smith, We Yone
Hilton File, WBIG-FM103
Ibrahim B. Kargbo, Citizen
Imprisoned: February 1998
Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) broadcaster Dennis Smith; SLBS director George; SLBS newscaster Mensah; SLBS newscaster Swaray; and We Yone reporter William Smith, appeared in Magistrate Court Number One, presided over by Judge Claudia Taylor. The case was postponed until April 6 because all the defendants were not in court. On April 14, Kargbo, managing editor of the newspaper Citizen, and File, owner and managing director of WBIG-FM103 and a former British Broadcasting Corporation Network Africa correspondent, were charged with treason in the Magistrate's Court.
On August 23, File, George, Dennis Smith, Mensah, and Kargbo, along with 11 other Sierra Leonean citizens, were found guilty of treason for collaborating with the ousted Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) junta. On August 24, after a four-month trial, Justice Redmond Cowan sentenced the five journalists to death by hanging. The journalists have appealed the sentences. At year's end, Swaray and William Smith were still awaiting sentencing.
Mildred Hancile, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS)
Conrad Roy, Expo Times
Mano Mbompa Turay, Eagle
Amadu Jalloh, Liberty Voice
Imprisoned: February 1998
Hancile, a reporter and production assistant with SLBS; Roy, an editor with the newspaper Expo Times; Turay, editor of the now-defunct newspaper Eagle; and Jalloh, a senior journalist with the newspaper Liberty Voice, appeared in Magistrate's Court to face charges ranging from treason and aiding and abetting the enemy, to conspiring to overthrow a legally constituted government.
Please send appeals to:
Mohamed Ibrahim Egal
President of the Republic of Somaliland
State House of Somaliland
Hassan Said Yusuf, Jamhurya
Imprisoned: May 25, 1998
Police arrested Yusuf, chief editor of the independent daily newspaper Jamhurya, for "insulting important personalities, circulating false information and criticizing the leaders of the republic."
Yusuf was arrested in connection with several articles published in June, July, and September 1997, and on February 2, March 1, and March 31, 1998. Included were articles about a dispute between the army and the government; about the outbreak of a Rift Valley disease that was later denied; about 33 punitive amputations ordered by an Islamic court in the town of Buro; and about remarks concerning the prosecutor general and officials of the justice system.
South Korea (2)
Please send appeals to:
President Kim Dae Jung
The Blue House
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Ham Yun Shik, One Way
Imprisoned: February 28, 1998
Ham, publisher of One Way magazine, was charged with criminal defamation by President Kim Dae Jung's political party, the National Congress for New Politics (NCNP),
as a result of highly critical articles regarding Kim's
background and political ideology published in the magazine in 1997 during the presidential campaign. On July 2,
a Seoul court sentenced Ham to one year in prison for
Son Chung Mu, Inside the World
Imprisoned: June 1, 1998
Son, the publisher of Inside the World magazine, was arrested on June 1. Prosecutors charged Son with criminal defamation and accepting a bribe from former Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) chief Kwon Young Hae to slander then-presidential candidate Kim Dae Jung during the
1997 campaign. Son had also been charged with related "crimes against reputation" in February by the public
prosecutor's office but was not arrested at the time. The charges were brought by the National Congress for New Politics (NCNP), President Kim Dae Jung's political
party, in the aftermath of his victory in the December 1997 elections. The party took exception to articles published
in Son's magazine in 1997 as well as a book he wrote
during the 1997 election campaign, Kim Dae Jung: X-File, all of which were highly critical of Kim. On September 23, Son was found guilty of criminal libel and sentenced to
two years in prison. The charge that he accepted a bribe
to slander Kim and thereby thwart his election was dropped.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Hafez al-Assad
c/o His Excellency Ambassador Walid Al-Moualem
Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
2215 Wyoming Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008 United States
Qaiss Darwish, Al Ka'ayda
Imprisoned: August 1984
Darwish, a journalist with the magazine Al Ka'ayda, was arrested by military security agents in August 1984 and later sentenced to 15 years in prison for alleged membership in the Party for Communist Action. He is in Sednaya Prison.
Allush, a journalist and political writer who has been in jail since 1985, was sentenced in June 1993 to 15 years' imprisonment for membership in the banned Party for Communist Action. He is reportedly being held in Sednaya Prison.
Anwar Bader, Syrian Radio and Television
Imprisoned: December 1986
Bader, a reporter for Syrian Radio and Television, who has been in jail since his arrest by the Military Interrogation Branch in December 1986, was convicted in March 1994 of being a member in the Party for Communist Action. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Samir al-Hassan, Fatah al-Intifada
Imprisoned: April 1986
Al-Hassan, Palestinian editor of Fatah al-Intifada, who has been in jail since his arrest in April 1986, was convicted in June 1994 of being a member of the Party for Communist Action. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Marwan Mohammed, Al-Baath
Imprisoned: October 18, 1987
Mohammed, a technician and journalist with the official Al-Baath, was arrested by military security agents on October 18, 1987. He was convicted and sentenced in 1993 to 10 years in prison for alleged membership in the Party for Communist Action. He is currently in Sednaya Prison.
Nou'man Abdo, Al-Tariq
Abdo, a journalist working with the magazine Al-Tariq (organ of the Lebanese Communist Party), was arrested sometime in 1992 and later convicted and sentenced in 1993 to 15 years in prison for alleged membership in the Party for Communist Action (PAC). He is currently in Tadmour Prison.
Nizar Nayyouf, Sawt al-Democratiyya
Imprisoned: January 1992
Nayyouf, a former free-lance journalist, leading member of the independent Committees for the Defense of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (CDF) and editor in chief of its monthly Sawt al-Democratiyya, was arrested in January 1992 and later convicted by the Supreme State Security Court of membership in an unauthorized organization and of disseminating false information. He was tortured during his interrogation.
CPJ learned in September 1998 that Nayyouf, who is serving a 10-year sentence in solitary confinement in Mezze military prison, was gravely ill and faced death unless he received immediate treatment for Hodgkins disease. Syrian authorities have refused him treatment unless he pledges
to refrain from political activity and renounces alleged
"false statements" he made about the human rights situation in Syria.
Salama George Kila
Imprisoned: March 1992
Kila, a Palestinian writer and journalist, was arrested in March 1992 by Political Security in Damascus. His trial began in the summer of 1993. According to the London-based International PEN, Kila had "reportedly written an article on censorship in Syria for a Jordanian daily paper." The court ruled that he was guilty of a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Since the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is three years, his release was expected in March 1995. But he remains in prison.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency President Gnassingbe Eyadéma
Office of the President
Elias Hounkali, Le Nouveau Combat
August 6, 1998
National police arrested and detained Augustin Asionbo and Pamphile Gnimassou, editors in chief of the privately owned Tingo Tingo and Abito, respectively, and Hounkali, a reporter with the privately owned weekly Le Nouveau Combat, for "attacking the honour" of the president and his wife.
The arrests follow the publication in the August 6 edition of Le Nouveau Combat, of articles titled "The Widow Mrs. Bobi Mobutu Demands Mrs. Badagnaki Eyadéma Return Her 17 Trunks of Jewelry Missing in Lomé," and "Eyadéma Fishes For a Letter of Congratulations from Chirac." Assionbo was exonerated and released on August 8. Gnimassou was released on an unspecified date. Hounkali remains in prison.
Edoh Amewouho, Le Nouveau Combat
November 10, 1998
Amewouho, a reporter with the privately owned weekly newspaper Le Nouveau Combat, was arrested and taken to the Lomé National Police Station. The following day, he was transferred to Lomé Prison. The arrest was in connection with the publication of two articles in the August 6-13 edition of the newspaper titled, "The Widow Mrs. Bobi Mobutu Demands Mrs. Badagnaki Eyadéma Return Her 17 Trunks of Jewelery Missing in Lomé," and "Eyadéma Fishes For A Letter of Congratulations from Chirac."
Please send appeals to:
M. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
President of the Republic of Tunisia
Hamadi Jebali, Al-Fajr
Imprisoned: January 1991
Jebali, editor of Al-Fajr, the weekly newspaper of the banned Islamist Al-Nahda party, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by the military court in Bouchoucha on August 28, 1992. He was tried along with 279 others 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 against him 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 it fell far below international standards of justice.
Abdellah Zouari, Al-Fajr
Imprisoned: February 1991
Zouari, a contributor to
Al-Fajr, the weekly newspaper of the banned Islamist Al-Nahda party, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the military court in Bouchoucha on August 28, 1992. He was tried along with 279 others 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 that it fell far short of international standards of justice.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Bulent Ecevit, Prime Minister
The Republic of Turkey, Basbakanlik
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Sinan Yavuz, Yoksul Halkin Gücü
Imprisoned: August 9, 1993
Yavuz, editor of the left-wing weekly Yoksul Halkin Gücü, was arrested during a police raid on an Istanbul fabric shop. Police reportedly had been told that the shop served as a front and arms-trafficking station for Devrimci Sol (Dev Sol), an outlawed leftist organization responsible for numerous armed terrorist operations in Turkey. The charges under which Yavuz was prosecuted show that he was alleged to be a member of Dev Sol, apparently on the basis of his affiliation with Yoksul Halkin Gücü, which the state asserts is Dev Sol's publishing arm. The evidence against Yavuz consisted of unspecified "documents" relating to Dev Sol and two copies of the magazine Kurtulus (a legal, far-left publication), which had allegedly been discovered during a search of the fabric shop. Yavuz was alleged to have resisted arrest after attempting to flee during the raid. He had been detained on previous occasions but released for lack of evidence.
Yavuz confessed to nothing in police custody, but the prosecution said that other members of Dev Sol who were detained in the same roundup stated that Yavuz was a member of the group. According to court documents, Yavuz waved a Dev Sol banner in the courtroom during his trial. He was convicted, sentenced on December 29, 1994, to 12 years and six months in jail, and sent to Canakkale Prison.
Hüseyin Solak, Mücadele
Imprisoned: October 27, 1993
Solak, the Gaziantep bureau chief of the socialist magazine Mücadele, was arrested and charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code with membership in Dev Sol, an outlawed underground leftist organization responsible for numerous terrorist operations in Turkey. He was convicted on the strength of statements from a witness who said he had seen Solak distributing Mücadele.
Transcripts of Solak's trial indicate the prosecution witness also testified that Solak had hung unspecified banners in public, and had served as a lookout while members of Dev Sol threw a Molotov cocktail at a bank in 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.
Solak was convicted of violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code and sentenced on November 24, 1994, to 12 years and six months in prison. He is in Cankiri Prison.
Imprisoned: November 13, 1993
Besikçi, a prominent scholar and author of numerous books and articles on the Kurds in Turkey, was arrested and charged on November 13, 1993, with violating the Anti-Terror Law for an article he wrote in the now-defunct daily Yeni ülke. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to one year in prison. Since this initial conviction, Besikçi has been prosecuted and convicted in other cases for articles he published on the Kurdish question in the now-defunct pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, and for books he has written on the subject. By the end of 1997, he had been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. He is in Bursa Prison, with additional charges pending against him.
Hasan Özgün, Özgür Gündem
Imprisoned: December 9, 1993
Özgün, a Diyarbakir correspondent for the now-defunct pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, was arrested during a police raid on the paper's Diyarbakir bureau on December 9, 1993, and charged under Article 168 of the Penal Code
with being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Transcripts of Özgün's trial show that the prosecution based its case on what it described as Özgür Gündem's pro-PKK slant and followed a pattern of state harassment of journalists affiliated with the publication. The prosecution also used as evidence copies of the banned PKK publications Serkhabun and Berxehun found in Özgün's possession, as well as photographs and biographical sketches of PKK members found in the newspaper's archive. The state also cited Özgün's possession of an unauthorized handgun as evidence of his membership in the PKK.
In his defense, Özgün maintained that the PKK publications were used as sources of information for newspaper articles, and that the photos of PKK members found in the archive were related to interviews the newspaper had conducted. Özgün admitted to purchasing the gun on the black market, but denied all other charges.
The Ministry of Justice replied to CPJ's request for information on Özgün's case saying that, "In fact, Mr. Özgün had extensive ties to the PKK terrorist organization. Accordingly, he was convicted of the following charges: being an active member of the PKK terrorist organization; being a courier for the PKK's mountain team; inciting the public to participate in propaganda activities organized by the PKK; informing the PKK of rich locals who could be targeted for extortion and ransom schemes organized by the organization; supplying food and medicine for the members of the PKK terrorist organization; carrying a gun without a license; providing arms for PKK mountain teams; distributing separatist propaganda material on behalf of the PKK terrorist organization." Özgün is currently in Aydin Prison.
Serdar Gelir, Mücadele
Imprisoned: April 25, 1994
Gelir, Ankara bureau chief for the weekly socialist magazine Mücadele, was detained on April 16, 1994, and arrested and imprisoned 10 days later, charged with being a member of an illegal organization.
During his trial, the prosecution introduced into evidence a handwritten note--written on a copy of the weekly socialist magazine Kurtulus--found in Gelir's possession, which discussed local elections. Excerpts from the note said that "the state has held elections in Kurdistan by force, with the force of 150,000 soldiers. The state has shown that it can hold elections in this region by blood. By disqualifying the representatives of the Kurdish people, by massacring the Kurdish people, that [sic] the state can get the results it wants from the elections."
The prosecution also claimed that Gelir had handwritten a four-page document that discussed revolution, colonialism, and armed struggle. Prosecutors further alleged that Gelir had attended an illegal demonstration and distributed copies of the magazine. This was cited as proof of his membership in Dev Yol, an outlawed organization. They said that Gelir had confessed to the accusations in police custody but later recanted.
In his defense, Gelir said that he was covering the demonstration for Mücadele, and his lawyer added that Gelir had filed a story on the event. Gelir said that he had been detained on April 6 and held for 16 days, but was released due to lack of evidence. On April 25, he was arrested again and then charged. Gelir cited the Turkish government's hostility toward the press.
The Ministry of Justice told 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 (Revolutionary Left/Dev Sol). Court records, however, indicate that he was sentenced to 12 years and six months and confined in Ankara Closed Prison. According to Gelir's lawyer, the Court of Cassation had quashed the verdict against him due to procedural errors. He is set to be re-retried under the same article. He is currently in Bartin Prison.
Utku Deniz Sirkeci, Tavir
Imprisoned: August 6, 1994
Sirkeci, the Ankara bureau chief of the leftist cultural magazine Tavir, was arrested and charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code with membership in the outlawed organization Dev Sol.
Court records from his trial show that the state accused Sirkeci of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a bank in Ankara, but the documents do not stipulate what evidence was introduced to support the allegation. Prosecutors also cited Sirkeci's attendance at the funeral of a Dev Sol activist to support the charge that he was a member of the organization.
In his defense, Sirkeci said he attended the funeral in his capacity as a journalist. He provided detailed testimony of his torture at the hands of police, who he alleged coerced him to confess. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison and confined to Ankara Closed Prison.
Aysel Bölücek, Mücadele
Imprisoned: October 11, 1994
Bölücek, a correspondent in Ankara for the weekly socialist magazine Mücadele, was arrested at her home and charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code, based on information the police had obtained and on a handwritten document allegedly linking her to the outlawed organization Dev Sol. She has been in prison since her arrest.
Court documents from her trial show the state also used as evidence the October 8, 1994, issue of Mücadeleto support its argument that the weekly was the publication of Dev Sol. The prosecutor said that the October 8 issue insulted security forces and state officials, and praised Dev 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, Bölücek had been acquitted of a charge of membership in Dev Sol for which the primary evidence had been the same handwritten document.) The defense accepted the claim that Bölücek had written the document, but said that she was forced under torture to write it while in police custody. The defense also said that a legal publication could not be used as evidence, and that the individuals who made incriminating statements about Bölücek to the police had done so under torture and subsequently recanted. Bölücek was convicted of membership in an outlawed organization and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison on December 23, 1994. She is being held in Canakkale Prison.
Özlem Türk, Mücadele
Imprisoned: January 17, 1995
Türk, a reporter in Samsun for the weekly socialist magazine Mücadele, was arrested at a relative's home and charged with violating Article 169 of the Penal Code for alleged membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front.
Court documents from her trial state that the prosecution's evidence included the fact that Türk collected money for Mücadele, as well as a handwritten autobiography allegedly found in the home of a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front. Two people testified that she was a member of the group.
Türk maintained that the money she had collected came from sales of copies of Mücadele. Türk said she was forced to confess to the charges under torture. The only material evidence presented at the trial were copies of legal publications-- Mücadele, Tavir, and Devrimci Genclik--found at her home, and copies of her alleged autobiography. Police provided expert testimony to authenticate the incriminating document.
According to court documents, Türk was convicted under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code and sentenced to 15 years in prison. She is in Canakkale Prison.
Baris Yildirim, Tavir
Imprisoned: March 21, 1995
Yildirim, a columnist for the leftist cultural magazine Tavir, was arrested, charged, and subsequently tried and convicted under Article 168 of the Penal Code for membership in the outlawed organization Dev Sol, but interviews with his colleagues in 1996 indicated that his conviction was based largely on the fact that he worked for Tavir.
At his trial in the State Security Court, the prosecution introduced statements of informants who said that Yildirim was a spokesman for the organization, and that he had taken part in throwing Molotov cocktails and hanging banners around Izmir on orders from the organization. The prosecution alleged that Yildirim had participated in the break-in at the center-right True Path Party's Izmir offices.
Yildirim was convicted on December 17, 1996, and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison. He is being held in Buca Prison in Izmir.
Burhan Gardas, Mücadele
Imprisoned: March 23, 1995
Gardas, the Ankara bureau chief for the weekly socialist magazine Mücadele, has been the target of several prosecutions since 1994 relating to his work as a journalist. 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 Dev Sol. The prosecution also said that police found banners with left-wing slogans and photographs of Dev Sol militants who had been killed in clashes with security forces. The prosecution said that when Gardas was taken into custody he shouted anti-state slogans and that he was using Mücadele's office for Dev Sol activities.
Gardas denied all charges. His attorney argued that the confiscated illegal publications were part of the magazine's archive, and that Gardas had been tortured while in detention. His lawyer presented a medical report to document the torture. Gardas was released on May 14, 1994, 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 weekly socialist magazine Kurtulus, the successor to Mücadele, where he was the Ankara bureau chief. The new charge was violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code. During the raid, police seized three copies of Kurtulus "news bulletins" and six articles from Kurtulus discussing
Court documents from his second trial, which was 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 Dev Sol policy--and his possession of publications which the prosecution contended were the mouthpieces of outlawed organizations, including Mücadeleand Kurtulus. The state also introduced the statements of Ali Han, who worked at Kurtulus' Ankara bureau, saying that Gardas was a Dev Sol member. Gardas denied the claim, and his lawyer argued that his silence during police interrogation was a constitutional right and proved nothing.
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 on the second set of charges. He has thus been convicted twice of membership in Dev Sol, each time based on his work as a journalist. Gardas is reportedly serving successive sentences at Aydin Prison.
Necla Can, Kurtulus
Imprisoned: April 9, 1995
Can, a reporter for the leftist weekly Kurtulus, was arrested and imprisoned after she attended a political dissident's funeral in her capacity as a journalist.
Can was tried along with 19 other alleged members of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C)--formerly known as Dev Sol--for violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code. Trial documents obtained in December 1997 state that Can was apprehended by police at her home on April 9, 1995, after two people told authorities that Can was a member of DHKP-C. The two informants later recanted.
Can's lawyer told CPJ that the basis for the charge against her had been her attendance at the funeral of a DHKP-C member. In Can's defense, her lawyer said that she had been there as a journalist. The lawyer also said that Can had testified in court to being beaten while in custody.
Can was convicted on December 21, 1997, and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison. She is in Istanbul's Umraniye Prison.
Özgür Güdenoglu, Mücadele
Imprisoned: May 24, 1995
Güdenoglu, Konya bureau chief of the socialist weekly magazine Mücadele, was arrested, charged, tried, and convicted under Article 168 of the Penal Code. He was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for alleged membership in the outlawed organization Dev Sol. His prosecution is part of the state's long-standing pattern of harassment of Mücadele. He is in Nigde Prison.
Bülent Öner, Atilim
Imprisoned: June 15, 1995
Öner, a reporter for the now-defunct weekly socialist newspaper Atilim, was taken into custody during a police raid on the newspaper's Mersin bureau on June 15, 1995, and, according to court documents, formally charged with membership in the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) on June 24 under Article 168 of the Penal Code.
Investigators reportedly found numerous unspecified "documents: linking Öner to the MLKP. At his trial, two witnesses testified for the state, which asserted that Atilim was the publication of the MLKP and further accused Öner of writing and distributing unspecified declarations of the group. According to court documents, the prosecutor stated that banners depicting a "disappeared" political activist were found in Öner's office. Öner was convicted and sentenced to 12 years and six months in jail and sent to Erzurum Prison. He is currently in Gaziantep 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 police raid on the newspaper's Mersin bureau in June 15, 1995, along with Bülent Öner, also a reporter for Atilim.
Harman was formally arrested on June 24, 1995, and charged with violating Article 168 of the Penal Code for alleged membership in the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). Atilim's lawyer reports that the prosecution based its case on the argument that Atilim was the publication of that group. The prosecution introduced copies of Atilim found in Harman's possession as evidence of her affiliation with the MLKP, and said that several unspecified banners were found in the Atilim office. The prosecution also alleged that Harman and Öner both lived in a house belonging to the MLKP. She was convicted and sentenced on January 26, 1996, to 12 years and six months in prison, and confined to Adana Prison.
Erdal Dogan, Alinteri
Imprisoned: July 10,1995
Dogan, an Ankara reporter for the now-defunct socialist weekly Alinteri, was detained by police on July 10, 1995. He was charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code, for alleged membership in the outlawed Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TIKB).
Court papers from his trial indicate that the prosecution argued that Alinteri was the publication of the TIKB. 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 said Dogan belonged to the organization. The defense claimed that the incriminating statement was 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 and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison, and was initially confined to Bursa Prison. He is currently in Sakarya Prison.
Sadik Çelik, Kurtulus
Imprisoned: December 23, 1995
Although Çelik, Zonguldak bureau chief for the leftist weekly Kurtulus, was detained and charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for alleged membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), the state's case rested almost exclusively on his activities as a reporter and Zonguldak bureau chief for  Kurtulus.
Court documents from his trial state that Çelik was detained on December 23, 1995. The prosecution said that Kurtulus was the publication of the DHKP-C, and that Çelik's position with the magazine proved he was a member of the group. Çelik 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 said that Çelik's name appeared in a document written by a leader of the DHKP-C (it is not clear whether the document was introduced as material evidence). The prosecution also said Çelik's refusal to testify in police custody proved his guilt.
The defense argued that the prosecution could not substantiate any of its claims. Çelik acknowledged distributing the magazine in his capacity as Kurtulus' bureau chief. He said that he held meetings in the office to discuss matters pertaining to the magazine. The defense presented the statements of two Kurtulus reporters, corroborating Çelik's statements.
Çelik was convicted and sentenced on October 17, 1996, to 12 years and six months in prison. Court documents indicate that he was sent to Ankara Closed Prison.
Erhan Il, Devrimci Emek
Imprisoned: February 16, 1996
Il was a reporter for the now-defunct far-left magazine Devrimci Emek, and had previously been its editor in chief from 1993 to 1994. Court documents state that Il was arrested and charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for alleged membership in the Turkish Communist Leninist Labor Party's (TKEP-L) youth organization. The prosecution also alleged that he rented a house in December 1994 for the TKEP-L, stored weapons for the organization, and possessed a counterfeit I.D.
Il's colleagues at Devrimci Emek told CPJ that he was prosecuted on the basis of articles published in the magazine during his tenure as editor. In response to an inquiry from CPJ, the Ministry of Justice stated that Il was convicted "according to amended Article 8/1 of the Anti-Terror Law [disseminating separatist propaganda], and not according to Article 168 of the Penal Code[.]" He is in Byrampasa Prison.
Ibrahim Çiçek, Atilim
Imprisoned: March 15, 1996
Çiçek, former editor in chief of the leftist weekly Atilim, testified at his trial that he was detained on March 15, 1996, on his way to his fathers home, and his wife was detained the following day at their home. Çiçek was charged under Article 168 of the Penal Code with alleged membership in an illegal organization, but his lawyer said that the only evidence against Çiçek was his affiliation with Atilim, which the state asserted was the mouthpiece of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP).
According to the Ministry of Justice, Çiçek "was taken into custody in relation to the armed attack carried out by the MLKP illegal leftist organization against government office buildings in the Sultanbeyli district of Istanbul as well as the offices of the MHP political party in the same district around 1 a.m. on March 14, 1996. The incident prompted the decision of the Istanbul State Security Court to detain Çiçek with his collaborators on March 29, 1996. Currently, he is in Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul."
Court documents show that Çiçek was charged with being a leader of the MLKP (Article 168/1 of the Penal Code)--specifically, of ordering an armed assault on the offices of an ultra-right-wing party in Istanbul--and of running Atilim. The prosecutor introduced as evidence a story from Atilim's March 23, 1996, issue about the assault on
the ultra-right-wing party. Two people gave statements to authorities implicating Çiçek. According to the defense, Çiçe said that he was tortured by police, but made no confession. He was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years
Yazgül Günes Öztürk, Kurtulus
Imprisoned: March 31, 1996
According to court documents from her trial, Öztürk, a reporter for the weekly socialist magazine Kurtulus, was detained and imprisoned on March 31, 1996, charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for alleged membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). The prosecution accused her of gathering information for DHKP-C in Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, and Konya, in central Turkey. She was also accused of attending unspecified illegal demonstrations in Istanbul and the funeral in Adana of two DHKP-C members killed during a robbery in Ankara.
According to Öztürk's lawyer, the prosecution said that she had coordinated the DHKP-C's propaganda activities.
In her defense, Öztürk cited her work as a journalist and denied all charges. She was convicted and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison. She is in Bayrampasa Prison.
Serpil Günes, Alinteri
Imprisoned: September 7, 1996
Günes, an editor and owner of the now-defunct socialist weekly Alinteri, was arrested in Izmir in a police raid on a vacation apartment where she and several of her Alinteri colleagues were staying. Günes was charged under Article 168 of the Penal Code for her alleged membership in the outlawed Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TIKB).
During her trial, the prosecution stated that police found a counterfeit I.D. card in Günes' possession, and seized unspecified illegal publications and handwritten documents which purportedly linked her and her colleagues to the TIKB. The prosecution produced witnesses who testified that she was a member of the group. Günes denied all the accusations.
Günes' lawyer characterized her conviction in this case as a "political decision" and said that she received the maximum 15-year sentence because the state considers Alinteri the mouthpiece of the TIKB.
Günes' lawyer told CPJ that about 20 cases against her stemming from articles published in the paper during her tenure were suspended following the August 14, 1997, amnesty for editors. Her lawyer said Günes has been fined nearly one billion Turkish lira in her capacity as owner
of Alinteri. CPJ sees in these previous convictions a pattern of state harassment of Alinteri for publishing news and dissenting opinion.
Former Alinteri staffers said Günes was charged with and convicted of violating Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law (propagandizing on behalf of an outlawed organization) and Article 312 of the Penal Code (inciting racial hatred) for articles published in the newspaper during her tenure.
On December 2, 1998, the Court of Cassation overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial for Günes under Article 168 of the Penal Code. She is in Usak Prison.
Nabi Kimran, Iscinin Yolu
Imprisoned: September 9, 1996
Kimran was editor of the leftist weekly Iscinin Yolu, which was subject to repeated government harassment during his tenure.
According to court documents, police apprehended Kimran on a bus during a police operation in advance of the anniversary of the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). He was charged under Article 168 of the Penal Code for his alleged membership in the MLKP. During his trial, the prosecution alleged that Kimran was a leader of the organization. The charge was based on a statement of an alleged MLKP sympathizer, who said that Kimran had given instructions to bomb a city bus. Kimran was also caught with a counterfeit I.D., which he admitted having because of his fear of being detained in the course of his journalistic work. The prosecution stated that police searching Kimran's apartment found documents in his handwriting that demonstrated his affiliation with the MLKP.
Kimran is currently being held in Sakarya Prison. His lawyer told CPJ that Kimran had also faced charges under Articles 7 (engaging in propaganda for an outlawed organization) and 8 (disseminating separatist propaganda) of the Anti-Terror Law. Staffers from the socialist weekly Atilim said these charges arose from news articles that appeared in Iscinin Yolu during Kimran's tenure. The Penal Code violation case was prosecuted, but the Anti-Terror Law cases were eventually suspended following the government's August 14, 1997, amnesty for jailed editors.
Ayten Öztürk, Kurtulus
Imprisoned: October 13, 1997
On September 19, 1997, an arrest warrant was issued for Öztürk, editor of the leftist weekly Kurtulus, for violating Article 168/1 of the Penal Code.
Öztürk surrendered to the court on October 13, and thereupon was charged with leading the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). The main evidence cited at her trial was her publication and distribution of an unspecified "special edition" of Kurtulus. The prosecution also said she had met with two alleged members of the DHKP-C. She was convicted on December 24 and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison. She is in Ankara Closed Prison.
In September 1997, Öztürk had faced charges under Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law for allegedly spreading propaganda in the press on behalf of an outlawed organization. Those charges were voided on September 4 by an Istanbul State Security Court in accordance with the government's August 14, 1997, amnesty for editors.
Ragip Duran, Özgür Gündem
Imprisoned: June 16, 1998
Duran, Istanbul correspondent for the French-language daily Liberation and a veteran reporter who has worked for the Agence France-Presse news agency, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the now-defunct pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, and other Turkish daily newspapers, began serving a 10-month jail term in Saray Prison for violating provisions of Turkey's Anti-Terror Law.
Duran was tried and convicted in December 1994 of propagandizing on behalf of an outlawed organization
under Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law, and his sentence was ratified by the Court of Cassation in October 1997. The charge stemmed from an article he wrote about his interview with Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which appeared in Özgür Gündem on April 12, 1994.
Dogan Guzel, Özgür Gündem
Imprisoned: July 31, 1998
Guzel, a cartoonist for the now-defunct pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, was arrested and charged under Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code with insulting the state and armed forces. The charge stemmed from four cartoons published in Özgür Gündem between May 1993 and October 1993.
During his trial, the prosecution introduced as evidence his use of the phrase "Khape TC" when referring to the Turkish Republic in each of the cartoons. "Khape TC" has a negative connotation, meaning "weak," "prostitute," or "
bastard." Guzel was convicted on four separate counts of
violating Article 159 and sentenced to 40 months in prison.
Eylem Kaplan, Ülkede Gündem
Ayse Oyman, Ülkede Gündem
Imprisoned: November 18, 1998
Kaplan and Oyman, reporters for the pro-Kurdish daily Ülkede Gündem in Malatya, were arrested in a nationwide police roundup of journalists working with the publication. They are charged with violating Article 169 of the Penal Code (aiding an outlawed organization).
According to the indictment, the prosecution accused the two journalists of collecting political and military information in Elazig, Bingöl, and Tunceli "under the cover of news." The prosecution accused the journalists of interviewing relatives of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members who had been killed, and accused Eylem of traveling to PKK military camps and taking photographs of guerrillas. Police state that they discovered film containing these photos in the newspaper office. According to the prosecution, "they brought to the newspaper bureau interviews that praised the members of the PKK in the name of news." The prosecutions's evidence consisted of "nine cassettes of interviews conducted by the accused that were seized in the newspaper office, which were propagating on behalf of the PKK and were derogatory against the state."
The trial of Kaplan and Oyman is underway in the Malatya State Security Court, and they are in Malatya Prison.
Ali Kemal Sel, Ülkede Gündem
Imprisoned: November 19, 1998
Sel, the Malatya bureau chief for the pro-Kurdish daily Ülkede Gündem since December 1996, was arrested in a nationwide police roundup of journalists working for the publication. He was charged with aiding an outlawed organization under Article 169 of the Penal Code.
According to official court documents from his indictment, Sel was accused of using two reporters from the paper to collect political and military information "in the name of news" in the towns of in Elazig, Tunceli, and Bingöl and passing it on to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The state's accusation read: "In the so-called newspaper, he used Eylem Kaplan and Ayse Onan to collect political and military information" such as "the starting hours of the soldiers and their routes; the lists of the material the soldiers were going to pass from the check-points; the pressure put on the people of the region; information about village evacuations. This information, which was against the state and in accordance with PKK's views was sent to the so-called newspaper Ülkede Gündem] in the name of news."
Prosecutors state that during a search of Sel's office and home they found "documents that were pro-PKK." His trial in the Malatya State Security Court is currently underway. He is in Malatya Prison.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Islam Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Shadi Mardiev, Samarkand Regional Radio
Imprisoned: November 15, 1997
On June 11, 1998, the Syrdariya regional court sentenced Shadi Mardiev, a 62-year-old reporter with the state-run Samarkand regional radio station, to 11 years in prison for defamation and extortion.
The case against Mardiev stemmed from a June 19, 1997, broadcast he which satirized the corrupt practices of deputy prosecutor Talat Abdulkhalikzada. Abdulkhalikzada accused Mardiev of defamation, and further alleged that the reporter had used the threat of the impending broadcast to attempt to extort money from him, according to Mardiev's lawyer.
On November 15, 1997, Mardiev was arrested on charges of defamation and extortion under four articles of the Uzbek penal code. Mardiev, known for his critical stance toward corrupt officials and for his writings in the satirical journal Mushtum, was held in pretrial detention at a jail in Samarkand until June 11, when his case was brought before the Syrdariya regional court.
Mardiev's health has reportedly deteriorated during his imprisonment in Qizil-Tepa, in the Navoi region of Uzbekistan. On August 3, 1998, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal filed by Mardiev's lawyer, upholding the sentence.
Please send appeals to:
His Excellency Le Kha Phieu
General Secretary of the Central Committee
Communist Party of Vietnam
1 Hoang Van Thu
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Bui Minh Quoc, Lang Biang
Imprisoned: September 1997
Quoc, a poet, journalist and correspondent for North Vietnamese radio during the Vietnam War, was placed under administrative detention by authorities in the southern resort town of Dalat. He is subject to constant surveillance and frequent interrogation. He is not allowed to leave the vicinity of his house, is prevented from having contact with family members without the presence of an armed guard and has been told by authorities not to have contact with foreigners or Vietnamese living abroad.
He was the president of the Dalat Writer's Association and the editor of the literary and cultural magazine Lang Biang before his pro-democracy ideas attracted the attention of authorities in 1990. Since that time, the magazine has been closed down and he has been expelled from the Communist Party because of his views. The order of administrative detention issued against Quoc came after he was accused of circulating pro-democracy letters calling for open trials of dissidents and other legal reforms.
With the passage of a decree allowing for virtually unlimited use of administrative detention in April 1997, Vietnamese authorities have used the tactic to silence dissidents. Administrative detentions are seldom reported in the press and are not subject to formal charges and public trials.