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Aung San Suu Kyi was an Amnesty International-recognized prisoner of conscience from 1989 to 1995, from 2000 to 2002, and from 2003 to 2010.[1]

Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by Peter Benenson in a 28 May 1961 article ("The Forgotten Prisoners") for the London Observer newspaper. Most often associated with the human rights organisation Amnesty International, the term can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, or political views. It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.

Definition[edit]

The article "The Forgotten Prisoners" by Peter Benenson, published in The Observer 28 May 1961, launched the campaign "Appeal for Amnesty 1961" and first defined a "prisoner of conscience".[2]

Any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing (in any form of words or symbols) any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence. We also exclude those people who have conspired with a foreign government to overthrow their own.

The primary goal for this year-long campaign, founded by the English lawyer Peter Benenson and a small group of writers, academics and lawyers including Quaker peace activist Eric Baker, was to identify individual prisoners of conscience around the world and then campaign for their release. In early 1962, the campaign had received enough public support to become a permanent organization and was renamed Amnesty International.

Under British law, Amnesty International was classed as a political organisation and therefore excluded from tax-free charity status.[3] To work around this, the "Fund for the Persecuted" was established in 1962 to receive donations to support prisoners and their families. The name was later changed to the "Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund" and is now a separate and independent charity which provides relief and rehabilitation grants to prisoners of conscience in the UK and around the world.[4]

Amnesty International has, since its founding, pressured governments to release those persons it considers to be prisoners of conscience.[5] Governments, conversely, tend to deny that the specific prisoners identified by Amnesty International are, in fact, being held on the grounds Amnesty claims; they allege that these prisoners pose genuine threats to the security of their countries.[6]

The phrase is now widely used in political discussions to describe a political prisoner, whether or not Amnesty International has specifically adopted the case, although the phrase has a different scope and definition than that of political prisoner.[7]

Current Amnesty International prisoners of conscience[edit]

Below is an incomplete list of individuals that Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience, organized by country.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Burma releases pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi". BBC News. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Peter Berenson (28 May 1961). "The Forgotten Prisoners". The Observer. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Hopgood, Steven (2006). Keepers of the Flame: The Understanding Amnesty International. Cornell University Press. p. 70. 
  4. ^ "About Us". Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "History of Organization". The Nobel Foundation. 1977. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Human Rights and the Dirty War in Mexico by Kate Doyle
  7. ^ "Freed China prisoner reaches US". BBC News. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Azerbaijan: Authorities determined to silence dissent to ensure successful Eurovision". Amnesty International. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Azerbaijan: Opposition activist freed as pre-Eurovision hunger strike begins". Amnesty International. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  10. ^ . Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR55/004/2013/en/6d71bc54-ab1d-4040-a3af-890bb263633a/eur550042013en.pdf. Retrieved 20 March 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Activists Face 12 Years' Jail on New Charges". Amnesty International. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb: Prisoners of Conscience". Amnesty International. 2012. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "Bahrain activist arrested and charged". Amnesty International. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Bahrain must free prisoners of conscience after outrageous verdict". Amnesty International. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Jailed Belarusian Activist Faces Review For 'Closed Regime'" (in Belarusian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Amnesty International considered Ales Belyatsky prisoner of conscience". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "Further information on UA 264/10 (21 December 2010) and follow-ups (23 December 2010, 12 January 2011, 31 January 2011, 7 March 2011)". Amnesty International. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Belarus urged to free remaining prisoners of conscience after two released". Amnesty International. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Belarus urged to release 'teddy bear' free speech activist". Amnesty International. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Convictions of activists in Cambodia demonstrates dire state of justice". Amnesty International. 27 December 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Sharp rise in harassment and attacks against activists and journalists in Cuba". Amnesty International. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c d "Eritrea: Prisoners of conscience held for a decade must be released". Amnesty International. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  23. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Amnesty International. 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  24. ^ Amnesty International. "Eskinder Nega". Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "Ebrima Manneh". Amnesty International. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  26. ^ "Indian human rights activist Binayak Sen to be released on bail". Amnesty International. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  27. ^ "India: Release Soni Sori on International Women's Day". Amnesty International. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  28. ^ Chanu, Irom Sharmila. "India must release prisoner of conscience on prolonged hunger strike". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "Iran: Further Information: Three Iranian Journalists Sentenced". Amnesty International. 8 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  30. ^ a b "Iran must release prisoner of conscience Zhila Bani-Yaghoub". Amnesty International. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  31. ^ "Iran must immediately release prisoner of conscience Arzhang Davoodi". Amnesty International. 24 August 2012. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  32. ^ a b "Urgent Action: Increasing concerns for safety of Goudarzi". Amnesty International. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  33. ^ "Iran: Free prisoner of conscience to visit ailing son". Amnesty International. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  34. ^ "Urgent Action: Human rights activist sentenced" (PDF). Amnesty International. 13 April 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  35. ^ "Iran: Jailed Blogger Denied Medical Leave". Amnesty International. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  36. ^ "Urgent Action: human rights Defender imprisoned". Amnesty International. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  37. ^ "Prisoner at risk of torture and ill-treatment". Amnesty International. 14 September 2009. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  38. ^ "Urgent Action: Prisoner taken from cell at risk of torture". Amnesty International. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  39. ^ "Mansour Ossanlu, Prisoner of Conscience". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  40. ^ "About the Prometheus Project". American Repertory Theater. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  41. ^ a b "Iran must release human rights defender Mohammad Ali Dadkhah". Amnesty International. 1 October 2012. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  42. ^ "Trade Unionist Given Six-Year Prison Sentence". Amnesty International. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  43. ^ "Heshmatollah Tabarzadi (m), aged 53, journalist". Amnesty International. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  44. ^ a b c d "Prisoners of Conscience". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  45. ^ "Amnesty: Leftist writer Qatamesh a prisoner of conscience". Amnesty International. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  46. ^ "Israeli Authorities Must Release Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience in West Bank". Amnesty International. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  47. ^ "Kuwaiti man sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for ‘insulting’ Tweets". Amnesty International. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  48. ^ "Kyrgyzstan: Further Information: Prisoner of Conscience on Brink of Death: Azimzhan Askarov". Amnesty International. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  49. ^ "Morocco holding independent editor over coverage of al-Qa’ida video". Amnesty International. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  50. ^ "2.2. Shin Sook Ja and her daughters", North Korea: Summary of Amnesty International's concerns, Amnesty International, 1993, retrieved 8 May 2012 
  51. ^ Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its sixty-third session, United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, 16 July 2012, retrieved 25 September 2012 
  52. ^ Gillian Wong (23 December 2011). "China sentences rights activist Chen Wei to nine years in jail". The Independent. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  53. ^ "China: Tibetan film-maker may face unfair trial, Dhondup Wangchen". Amnesty International. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  54. ^ "Uighur teacher extradited to China on politically motivated 'terror' charges". Amnesty International. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  55. ^ "Amnesty International 'Shocked' Following Reports of Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng's Return to Prison". Amnesty International. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  56. ^ "Human rights defender at risk of torture". Amnesty International. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  57. ^ "Further Information on UA 257/10 (15 December 2010) - Prisoner of Conscience/ Risk of Torture". Amnesty International. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  58. ^ "End Repression of Expression: Free Liu Xiaobo". Amnesty International. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  59. ^ "MAO HENGFENG: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  60. ^ a b Tan Shu Yan (2 June 2012). "Amnesty International Appeals for Urgent Action: Falun Gong Practitioners at Risk of Torture". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  61. ^ "Protestor Sent to Mental Institution". Amnesty International. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  62. ^ "Saudi Arabia uses capital offence of 'apostasy' to stifle debate". Amnesty International. 24 December 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  63. ^ "Amnesty joins calls to free Saudi 'hunger striker'". Agence France-Presse. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  64. ^ "Saudi Arabia urged to allow prisoner of conscience to visit ill mother". Amnesty International. 19 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  65. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Trial of Riyadh protester 'utterly unwarranted'". Amnesty International. 22 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  66. ^ "Death penalty fear for Tweeter facing forcible return to Saudi Arabia from Malaysia". Amnesty International. 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  67. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Man might face death penalty for tweets: Hamza Kashgari". Amnesty International. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  68. ^ "Sudanese Youth Activist at Risk of Torture". Amnesty International. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  69. ^ "Sudan must end clampdown on media". Amnesty International. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  70. ^ "Release Syrian prisoner of conscience ‘Ali al-‘Abdullah". Amnesty International. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  71. ^ "Syrian Activist Faces Secret Military Court". Amnesty International. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  72. ^ "Urgent Action- Health Concerns for Detained Syrian Activist - Shibal Ibrahim". Amnesty International. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  73. ^ "Syria: activists forced into hiding by threats". Amnesty International. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  74. ^ "Somyot lese majeste judgement on Wednesday". The Bangkok Post. 22 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  75. ^ a b c "Tunisia: Mounting attacks on freedom of expression". Amnesty International. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  76. ^ "US Urged to Press Tashkent on Political Prisoners". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 21 August 2012. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  77. ^ "Prominent Vietnamese activist jailed over democracy calls". Amnesty International. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  78. ^ "Urgent Action : Le Cong Dinh, human rights lawyer: arrested". Retrieved 21 June 2009. 
  79. ^ "VIETNAMESE AUTHORITIES MUST RELEASE DR. NGUYEN DAN QUE". Amnesty International. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  80. ^ "Vietnamese bloggers deny charges, third in leniency bid". BBC News. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  81. ^ "Catholic Priest Risks Being Returned to Prison". Amnesty International. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  82. ^ a b "Viet Nam: Halt crackdown on freedom of expression". Amnesty International. 7 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  83. ^ "Viet Nam activist prison sentence condemned". Amnesty International. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner_of_conscience — Please support Wikipedia.
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117 news items

 
Amnesty International
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:15:00 -0700

... was arrested and tortured by the Mexican police and army is currently facing an unfair trial solely because of his ethnicity and should be released immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today, as it named him a prisoner of ...
 
Wall Street Journal
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:42:11 -0700

Amnesty International called Mr. Khodorkovsky a prisoner of conscience, saying he was kept in prison for political reasons. Last year, after ten years in prison, Mr. Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Pavel, who had moved ...

Iran Focus

Iran Focus
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:03:45 -0700

During his time in prison, Davdoodi has suffered torture, beatings and solitary confinement and was denied access to basic hygiene products and kept in unsanitary conditions. Amnesty International regards Arzhang Davoodi as a "prisoner of conscience ...
 
Daily Times
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:56:15 -0700

You don't want to become the prisoner of conscience. You have no plans to go on a sehrooza either. So you decide an 'early escape.' You start to look around. Desperately trying to find some place to sneak into. A street, an alley, a pavement or ...
 
Gulf Business News
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 21:43:51 -0700

Waad regards Sharif as a prisoner of conscience. “The objective which the (ministry) is after is to tighten the space for political work in Bahrain, especially the activities of opposition societies,” Waad's acting head Rida al-Mousawi said in remarks ...

Radio Dabanga

Radio Dabanga
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:11:15 -0700

The head of the defence team for the in total 24 detained SCP members until now, Sati El Haj, told Radio Dabanga, that Ibrahim El Sheikh is a “prisoner of conscience, as he has not committed any materiel crime”. “His criticism of the RSF militia is the ...
 
National Review Online (blog)
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:56:15 -0700

As you already know, I had been a prisoner of conscience (as Amnesty International puts it), imprisoned from 1977 to 1987 for human-rights activities in the former Soviet Union. The time in the Soviet Gulag happened to be the most difficult but, at the ...
 
E Kantipur
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 19:37:30 -0700

As a prisoner of conscience who spent 14 years behind bars, which is longer than any other leader presently in the UML has spent, and a leader who has more followers than any other UML leader, Oli very much deserves the post. Now that justice has been ...
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