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Karim Flowers
Karim Flowers

POLITICAL PRISONERS UPD



Bloggers, businessmen, presidential campaign members and peaceful protesters are held in prisons only because they were not afraid to exercise their rights - the right to participate in peaceful assemblies, to express their opinion and to be involved in political activities.




POLITICAL PRISONERS



There is no internationally recognized legal definition of the concept, although numerous similar definitions have been proposed by various organizations and scholars, and there is a general consensus among scholars that "individuals have been sanctioned by legal systems and imprisoned by political regimes not for their violation of codified laws but for their thoughts and ideas that have fundamentally challenged existing power relations".[1] The status of a political prisoner is generally awarded to individuals based on declarations of non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International, on a case-by-case basis. While such status are often widely recognized by the international public opinion, they are often rejected by individual governments accused of holding political prisoners, which tend to deny any bias in their judicial systems.[1][2]


The concept of a political prisoner, like many concepts in social sciences, sports numerous definitions, and is undefined in international law and human right treaties.[2][1] Helen Taylor Greene and Shaun L. Gabbidon in 2009 that "standard legal definitions have remained elusive", but at the same time, observing that there is a general consensus that "individuals have been sanctioned by legal systems and imprisoned by political regimes not for their violation of codified laws but for their thoughts and ideas that have fundamentally challenged existing power relations".[1]


Amnesty International (AI) campaigns for the release of prisoners of conscience, which include both political prisoners as well as those imprisoned for their religious or philosophical beliefs. To reduce controversy, and as a matter of principle, the organization's policy applies only to prisoners who have not committed or advocated violence. Thus, there are political prisoners who do not fit the narrower criteria for POCs.[2][1] The organisation defines the differences as follows:[4]


AI uses the term "political prisoner" broadly. It does not use it, as some others do, to imply that all such prisoners have a special status or should be released. It uses the term only to define a category of prisoners for whom AI demands a fair and prompt trial.


In AI's usage, the term includes any prisoner whose case has a significant political element: whether the motivation of the prisoner's acts, the acts in themselves, or the motivation of the authorities.


The category of political prisoners embraces the category of prisoners of conscience, the only prisoners who AI demands should be immediately and unconditionally released, as well as people who resort to criminal violence for a political motive.


Governments often say they have no political prisoners, only prisoners held under the normal criminal law. AI however describes cases like the examples given above as "political" and uses the terms "political trial" and "political imprisonment" when referring to them. But by doing so AI does not oppose the imprisonment, except where it further maintains that the prisoner is a prisoner of conscience, or condemn the trial, except where it concludes that it was unfair.


Burmese Assistance Association for Political Prisoners defines a political prisoner as "anyone who is arrested because of [their] perceived or real involvement in or supporting role in opposition movements with peaceful or resistance means."[6]


Political prisoners are defined as individuals that are convicted and incarcerated in politically biased trials (or executive decisions in absence of any trials). Trials are deemed politically biased if they are endorsed by the government and (a) lack a domestic legal basis, (b) violate principles of procedural justice, or (c) violate universal human rights.[2]


The purpose of political prisons and of imprisoning dissidents is to demonstrate the strength of the regime to the dissidents. The regime's opponents are isolated and stigmatised, frequently abused and tortured. The goal of such treatment is not just punish those opposing the regime, but to frighten those who consider opposing the regime by demonstrating the power of the regime by sending a clear warning that objecting is not tolerated, and that the regime is well prepared and ready to punish the objectors through creation of total institutions dedicated to hosting political prisoners.[3][7]


A political prisoner can also be someone that has been denied bail unfairly, denied parole when it would reasonably have been given to a prisoner charged with a comparable crime, or special powers may be invoked by the judiciary. Particularly in this latter situation, whether an individual is regarded as a political prisoner may depend upon subjective political perspective or interpretation of the evidence.[citation needed] Political prisoners can also be imprisoned with no legal veneer by extrajudicial processes[citation needed] or through executive decisions in absence of any trials[2] or even charges.[1] Some political prisoners need not be imprisoned at all, as they can be subject to prolonged pre-trial detainment instead. Steinert noted that technically, political detainees should be distinguished from political prisoners, but they are often grouped together, and in practical terms, he recommends treating them as special types of political prisoners.[2] Examples of such detainees can include individuals such as the former Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, detained for many years without a trial.[2] Likewise, supporters of Tibetan spiritual leader Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in the 11th Panchen Lama controversy have called him a "political prisoner", despite the fact that he is not accused of a political offense. He is held under secluded house arrest.[8]


The status of a political prisoner can be significant, as such inmates can become the subjects of international advocacy and receive aid from various non-governmental organizations.[2] Criticism from the international public opinion has been shown to facilitate release of political detainees, or reduce their sentences, but is less effective in securing release of already-sentenced individuals.[9] When the status of a prisoner as political is well known, it can be seen as a form of status symbol, some political prisoners purposefully frame themselves as "the imprisoned martyrs and leaders of their movement", and this status can also be seen as "providing a guarantee of their security and of respect for their rights behind the bars".[3]


In some places, political prisoners had their own customs, traditions, and semi-formal organizations and privileges; historically, this has been more common up to around the interwar period, as the many political prisoners came from higher social classes (in particular, nobility), and authorities often treated them better than common criminals. This changed with the emergence of the totalitarian regimes, which attempted to throughout indoctrinate or eliminate any opposition.[3][7]


While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 is not legally binding, it is generally recognized as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations." Of particular relevance to political prisoners are its Articles 5, 6, 9 and 18. The UDHR and the later Helsinki Accords of 1975 have been used by a number of nongovernmental organizations as basis for arguing that some governments are in fact holding political prisoners.[1]


In the United States, the term political prisoner has been used during the mid-20th century civil rights struggle and has been occasionally applied to individuals like Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr., and later used for individuals imprisoned for objecting to US involvement in the Vietnam War.[2][1]


Political prisoners sometimes write memoirs of their experiences and resulting insights. Some of these memoirs have become important political texts. For example, King's "Letter From a Birmingham City Jail" has been described as "one of the most important historical documents penned by a modern political prisoner".[1]


Due to the lack of single, internationally recognized legal definition of a political prisoner, nongovernmental organizations like Amnesty International, aided by legal scholars, determine whether prisoners meet their criteria of political prisoners on a case-by-case basis.[1]


In "Prison City," Wisconsin, white elected officials are representing voting districts made up mostly of prisoners. Those prisoners are disproportionately black and brown. Oh, and they can't actually vote.


The Nazis demanded that Germans accept the premises of the Nazi worldview and live their lives accordingly. They tolerated no criticism, dissent, or nonconformity. Hitler's political opponents were the first victims of systematic Nazi persecution.


After World War I (1914-1918), nationalist, right-wing political movements in Germany and Austria tended to see the nation in collective terms as a Volksgemeinschaft or national community. Racist nationalists on the extreme right of the political spectrum saw this collective as a voelkische Gemeinschaft, by which they meant a racial group that they considered superior. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, among other radical right-wing groups, adopted this view of the German nation.


Nazi persecution of political opponents exacted a terrible price in human suffering. Between 1933 and 1939, the criminal courts sentenced tens of thousands of Germans for "political crimes." If the police were confident of a conviction in court, the prisoner was turned over to the justice system for trial. If the police were unsatisfied with the outcome of criminal proceedings they would take the acquitted citizen or the citizen who was sentenced to a suspended sentence into protective detention and incarcerate him or her in a concentration camp. On the eve of World War II, concentration camps held about 25,000 inmates, most of them political prisoners. 041b061a72


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