|Ealing Amnesty Petition Goes To Paris|
Thousands of signatures calling for justice for two Lao prisoners
A petition demanding justice for two Lao prisoners of conscience was handed in to the Laos Embassy in Paris by the Ealing group of Amnesty International.
The petition bearing 1,188 signatures demanded that a new trial, upholding International standards, be given to Thao Moua and Pa Fue Khang,
Amnesty say the two men - members of the Hmong ethnic group - were recruited as guides by two European journalists willing to write a story on the plight of the Hmong minority in Laos.
The journalists wanted to meet representatives of the underground group who still live in the jungle and have been the target of persecutions by the governmental authorities since the 60s.
As they emerged from the forest, on 4 June 2003, the Lao police forces arrested the journalists and their guides.
Amnesty say all were given a two–hour pre-determined “farce” trial that resulted in sentences ranging between 12 and 15 years in prison.
The foreign reporters were released thanks to international pressure, but Thao and Pa Fue remain incarcerated in deplorable conditions.
Amnesty International believes that the trial did not uphold international standards of fairness and is likely to have been politically motivated.
Five members of the Ealing group of Amnesty boarded the 5.25 am Eurostar service to Paris on 18 October 2011, to deliver the petition to the nearest Laos Embassy.
Many of the signatures were collected by the group at the Ealing world music festival in July earlier this year.
Catherine Perez Phillips, Ealing Amnesty group member said:
“I really believe in the Amnesty motto that it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. I’m sure our efforts have done something to highlight this terrible injustice and hopefully bring freedom that little bit closer for Thao Moua and Pa Fue Khang”
26th October 2011