Laos Denies Detentions

The Lao government dismisses reports of authorities detaining a group of pro-democracy protesters.
2009-11-06
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Patuxaytower-305.jpg
Tuk-tuks drive towards the Patuxay tower in the center of Vientiane, March 17, 2006.
AFP

BANGKOK—Laos denied Friday reports that it has detained people on their way to stage a pro-democracy protest in the Lao capital, saying the reports were "fabricated" to harm the country’s image ahead of two major events.

The Seattle-based Lao Students Movement for Democracy meanwhile reported that authorities had detained more than 300 people Nov. 2 as they tried to converge in the Lao capital, Vientiane, to stage a pro-democracy protest.

Most were quickly released, but the nine who remain in custody have now been moved to Samkhe Prison in Vientiane, the group said in a statement, dated Nov. 5 and written in Lao.

“RFA’s news does not have any foundation,” Lao Foreign Ministry spokesman Khenethong Nouanthasing said in a statement, referring to Radio Free Asia's initial report on the detentions.

“It has been  fabricated by people with bad intentions to tarnish the reputation and destroy the image of the Lao PDR [People’s Democratic Republic] as it is getting ready to celebrate its national day on Dec. 2, and host the 25th SEA Games in December as well,” he said.

Scores of people in several different groups were taken into custody, held briefly, and released on Nov. 2, Lao sources have said.

Those still detained have been identified as Ms. Kingkeo, 39; Mr. Soubin, 35; Mr. Souane, 50; Mr. Sinprasong, 43; Khamsone, 36; Mr. Nou, 54; Ms. Somchit, 29; Mr. Somkhit, 28; and Sourigna, 26.

They had planned to meet several hundred others at the Patuxay monument in Vientiane, according to sources who asked not to be identified.

Most were connected with the Oct. 26, 1999 student protests in the communist Southeast Asian country. Four of the leaders of that protest remain in Samkhe prison after one died in custody.

According to the Paris-based Lao Movement for Human Rights, the planned protest aimed at promoting “a real democracy, respect for human rights, cancellation of the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Treaty of 1977, the release of all political prisoners, and a multiparty system.”

Original reporting by RFA’s Lao service. Lao service director: Viengsay Luangkhot. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Comments (16)
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Anonymous Reader

y'all with the negative comments need to stop man, i came to lao on a vacation, and decided to extend my stay. People here are so nice, most of the governemnt official here can speak english, even in the romote towns. If that is not education, what is. Man, 80% of the people in the staes, does not speak a second language. So y'all be nice, dont hate the world so much man.

Mar 19, 2010 09:32 AM

Anonymous Reader

Well, no one can change your country, only you can change your country. Now is way passed your time to change your country. If you decided that you should gather and change, yet it is not too late. But you and your folks should reallized that Laos Government is not going to do any change to the country of Laos if Billions of dollars keep on coming into their pockets. Look at the officials' properties, they are Gods' and food are always there for them. They dont have to work or earn it. They sleep and eat.

Nov 24, 2009 05:24 PM

Anonymous Reader

Pack-lath know themselves and what they are doing badly to the country and to Lao people but they cannot stop because the old leader is still hanging around.
Wait until they pass-away, they might do. That killed thousands of lao people so they have to hold on as long as they
can! In my opinion everything has a limit and nothing can go on forever. We are lao
abroad and in should be corporated and it will go!
go!

Nov 18, 2009 03:06 AM

Anonymous Reader

Lao Students need to be FREE! No More communist in Lao. Please ask for the US Government to be concern about the Freedom and Democracy in Lao PDR. Also, let bring the Subject of Free Christian in Lao PDR asap

Nov 18, 2009 01:10 AM

Anonymous Reader

THE LAOS GOVERNMENT IS ESTABLISHED BY THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT, THEY ARE NOT EDUCATED TO BE SMART ENOUGH TO RUN THE COUNTRY BECAUSE VIETNAM WILL NOT PICK THE SMART PERSON SO THEY CAN FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTION ON EVERYTHING, EVEN TO KILL OUR OWN PEOPLE AND LIE ABOUT IT,TAKE OUR LAND AWAY FROM US AND GIVE IT TO VIETNAMESE. IT IS SAD BUT TRUE..DOES ANYONE KNOW ANY OF OUR LEADER WHO HAD GRATUATED FROM ANY LAW SCHOOL?

Nov 13, 2009 07:43 AM

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