In the last three years, Amnesty International has gathered new data on the situation of people in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic held in prisons, for alleged criminal offences. A bleak picture has emerged of arbitrary detention, lack of judicial oversight, little or no access to medical facilities, and appalling cruelty by prison officials. All the information received by Amnesty International indicates that widespread torture and ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners is taking place within Lao police stations and prisons. Whatever limited protection exists in Lao law to uphold the rights of the accused is not applied in practice, and individuals are at the mercy of a system which lacks transparency, clarity or reason. This document outlines Amnesty International’s concerns.