PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 26/11/98
29 September 1998
Further information on UA 404/97 (ASA 26/05/98, 22 December 1997) and follow-up
(ASA 26/05/98, 10 March 1998) - Health Concern/Prisoners of conscience
Bounlu Nammathao (reportedly died June/July 1998)
Thongsouk Saysangkhi (died February 1998)
Amnesty International is dismayed to learn that Latsami Khamphoui and Feng
Sakchittaphong are both still suffering from serious health problems for which
it appears they have not been provided with adequate medical care. Feng
Sakchittaphong is reported to be unable to move without assistance and
stays lying down. Latsami Khamphoui is reported to be very weak and pale and
has lost a lot of weight.
The two men are detained in extremely harsh conditions at Prison Camp 7 in
a remote area of Houa Phanh Province. There are no medical facilities at the
camp and they have suffered from a range of illnesses since their detention.
Amnesty International fears that unless both men are urgently provided with
medical treatment in hospital they will not survive.
Amnesty International has also received unconfirmed information about the death
in June or July 1998 of another political prisoner detained at Prison Camp
7. Bounlu Nammathao had already been held for "re-education" without charge
or trial for 17 years when he was tried in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment
for alleged crimes committed prior to 1975. Amnesty International is seeking
confirmation of his death and causes.
Latsami Khamphoui and Feng Sakchittaphong were detained with their friend
Thongsouk Saysangkhi in October 1990. They were adopted as prisoners of
conscience by Amnesty International after they were sentenced to 14 years’
imprisonment after a grossly unfair trial in 1992 on charges including "making
preparations for a rebellion", "propaganda against the Lao People’s Democratic
Republic" and "libel and slander". All three are former government officials
who had advocated peaceful political and economic change in Laos. Appeals that
all three should be provided with appropriate medical care for their
deteriorating health have been ignored by the authorities; Thongsouk Saysangkhi
died in mid-February 1998 reportedly from complications relating to diabetes.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/express/ airmail letters
in English or French or in your own language:
- expressing grave concern that prisoners of conscience Latsami Khamphoui and
Feng Sakchittaphong continue to suffer from serious health problems;
- urging that they should be immediately and unconditionally released, pending
which they should be provided with the medical treatment they need, including
transfer to hospital;
- requesting confirmation of reports of the death of political prisoner Bounlu
Nammathao in June or July 1998, and if true, the causes of death.