2003 prison census: 138 journalists jailed

There were 138 journalists in prison around the world at the end of 2003 who were jailed for practicing their profession. The number is the same as last year. An analysis of the reasons behind this is contained in the introduction on page 10.

At the beginning of 2004, CPJ sent letters of inquiry to the heads of state of every country on the list below requesting information about each jailed journalist. Readers are encouraged to add their voices to CPJ's by writing directly to the heads of state, whose names and addresses can be found at www.cpj.org.

This list represents a snapshot of all the journalists who were incarcerated at midnight on December 31, 2003. It does not include the many journalists who were imprisoned and released throughout the year; accounts of those cases can be found online.

A word about how this list is compiled: In totalitarian societies where independent journalism is forbidden, CPJ often defends persecuted writers whose governments view them as political dissidents rather than as journalists. This category would embrace the samizdat publishers of the former Soviet Union and the wall-poster essayists of the pre-Tiananmen period in China. We also include political analysts, human rights activists, and others who were prosecuted because of their written or broadcast work.

We consider any journalist who is deprived of his or her liberty by a government to be imprisoned. Journalists remain on this list until we receive positive confirmation that they have been released. In some cases, we have received reports that a journalist was killed in government custody. One example is Nepalese journalist Krishna Sen, who was arrested by government forces in Nepal on May 20, 2002, and has not been heard from since. We keep Sen on this list as a way of holding the Nepalese government accountable for his fate.

Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by nonstate entities, including criminal gangs, rebels, or militant groups, are not included on the imprisoned list. Their cases are classified as "missing." CPJ documented four such cases in 2003. Details are available on CPJ's Web site.

ALGERIA: 2

Djamel Eddine Fahassi
, Alger Chaîne III

Imprisoned: May 6, 1995

Fahassi, a reporter for the state-run radio station Alger Chaîne III and a contributor to several Algerian newspapers, including the now banned weekly of the Islamic Salvation Front, Al-Forqane, was abducted near his home in the al-Harrache suburb of the capital, Algiers, by four well-dressed men carrying walkie-talkies. According to eyewitnesses who later spoke with his wife, the men called out Fahassi's name and then pushed him into a waiting car. He has not been seen since, and Algerian authorities have denied any knowledge of his arrest.

Prior to Fahassi's "disappearance," Algerian authorities had targeted him on at least two occasions because his writing criticized the government. In late 1991, he was arrested after an article in Al-Forqane criticized a raid conducted by security forces on an Algiers neighborhood. On January 1, 1992, the Blida Military Court convicted him of disseminating false information, attacking a state institution, and disseminating information that could harm national unity.

He received a one-year suspended sentence and was released after five months. On February 17, 1992, he was arrested a second time for allegedly attacking state institutions and spreading false information. He was transferred to the Ain Salah Detention Center in southern Algeria, where hundreds of Islamic suspects were detained in the months following the cancellation of the January 1992 elections.

In late January 2002, Algerian Ambassador to the United States Idriss Jazairy responded to a CPJ query, saying a government investigation had not found those responsible for Fahassi's abduction. The ambassador added that there was no evidence of state involvement.


Aziz Bouabdallah, Al-Alam al-Siyassi

Imprisoned: April 12, 1997

Bouabdallah, a reporter for the daily Al-Alam al-Siyassi, was abducted by three armed men from his home in the capital, Algiers. According to Bouabdallah's family, the men stormed into their home and, after identifying the journalist, grabbed him, put his hands behind his back, and pushed him out the door and into a waiting car. An article published in the daily El-Watan a few days after his abduction reported that Bouabdallah was in police custody and was expected to be released soon.

In July 1997, CPJ received credible information that Bouabdallah was being held in Algiers at the Châteauneuf detention facility, where he had reportedly been tortured. But Bouabdallah's whereabouts are currently unknown, and authorities have denied any knowledge of his abduction.

In late January 2002, Algerian Ambassador to the United States Idriss Jazairy responded to a CPJ query, saying a government investigation had not found those responsible for Bouabdallah's abduction. The ambassador added that there was no evidence of state involvement.


BANGLADESH: 1

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
, Blitz

Imprisoned: November 29, 2003

Choudhury, editor of the weekly tabloid Blitz, was arrested by security personnel at Zia International Airport in the capital, Dhaka, on suspicion of antistate activities and espionage while on his way to Israel to participate in a conference with the Hebrew Writers Union.

Intelligence agents interrogated Choudhury at the airport and confiscated his luggage, according to The Daily Star. Choudhury's home was also raided, The Independent newspaper reported.

According to The Daily Star, the journalist was suspected of having links to an Israeli intelligence agency and had been under surveillance for several months before his arrest. Choudhury has denied the charges, The Independent reported.

On December 17, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court denied Choudhury's request for bail, and police formally charged him with violating passport regulations, which carries a maximum sentence of six months, according to Choudhury's family. Bangladesh has no formal relations with Israel, and travel to Israel is illegal for Bangladeshi citizens.

Two other charges of antistate activities are being prepared against the journalist by Bangladesh's Home Ministry for alleged involvement in "anti-religious activities," according to Choudhury's family.

CPJ is investigating the motives behind Choudhury's detention. He was traveling to address a writers' symposium in Tel Aviv titled "Bridges Through Culture" and was scheduled to speak about "the role of media in establishing peace," according to the conference organizer. Choudhury would have been the first journalist from Bangladesh to address such a group in Israel.

Choudhury was affiliated with the Israel-based International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting world peace. He recently wrote about the rise of al-Qaeda in Bangladesh.


BURMA: 10

U Win Tin
, freelance

Imprisoned: July 4, 1989

U Win Tin, former editor-in-chief of the daily Hanthawati and vice chairman of Burma's Writers Association, was arrested and sentenced to three years of hard labor on the spurious charge of arranging a "forced abortion" for a member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). One of Burma's most well-known and influential journalists, U Win Tin helped establish independent publications during the 1988 student democracy movement. He was also a senior leader of the NLD and a close adviser to opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

In 1992, he was sentenced to an additional 10 years for "writing and publishing pamphlets to incite treason against the State" and "giving seditious talks," according to a May 2000 report by the Defense Ministry's Office of Strategic Studies. On March 28, 1996, prison authorities extended U Win Tin's sentence by another seven years after they convicted him, along with at least 22 others, of producing clandestine publications--including a report describing the horrific conditions at Rangoon's Insein Prison to the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Burma.

U Win Tin was charged under Section 5(e) of the Emergency Provisions Act for having "secretly published anti-government propaganda to create riots in jail," according to the Defense Ministry report. His cumulative sentence is, therefore, 20 years of hard labor and imprisonment.

Now 73 years old, the veteran journalist is said to be in extremely poor health after years of maltreatment in Burma's prisons--including a period when he was kept in solitary confinement in one of Insein Prison's notorious "dog cells," formerly used as kennels for the facility's guard dogs. He suffers from spondylitis, a degenerative spine disease, as well as a prostate gland disorder and hemorrhoids. The journalist has had at least two heart attacks and spent time in the hospital for treatment twice in 2002: once following a hernia operation, and again in connection with a heart ailment.

U Win Tin remained in the prison ward of the Rangoon General Hospital at the beginning of 2003, but representatives from Amnesty International and the United Nations were allowed to visit him there. The Amnesty International group saw him on February 5, 2003, for about an hour and reported that although U Win Tin's health seemed to have stabilized, he was suffering from urinary problems. On March 21, 2003, U.N. Special Human Rights Envoy to Burma Paulo Sergio Pinhiero also spent an hour visiting with U Win Tin in the hospital.

According to a report in Le Monde, a Burmese army officer asked U Win Tin to sign a document in early 2003 that would have freed him from prison if he agreed to stop his political work, but the journalist refused.

If he is forced to complete his full 20-year sentence, U Win Tin will not eligible for release from prison until July 2009.


Ohn Kyaing
, freelance

Thein Tan, freelance

Imprisoned: September 6, 1990

On September 7, 1990, Col. Than Tun, Burma's deputy chief of military intelligence, announced at a press conference that Ohn Kyaing and Thein Tan were among six leaders of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) arrested on the previous day, according to international news reports.

On October 19, 1990, the Information Committee of the junta (then known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council and later renamed the State Peace and Development Council) announced at a press conference that Ohn Kyaing and Thein Tan "had been sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a military tribunal for inciting unrest by writing false reports about the unrest, which occurred in Mandalay on 8 August 1990," according to the BBC's translation of a state radio broadcast.

The Mandalay "unrest" the committee referred to involved the military's killing of four pro-democracy demonstrators. Government troops fired on protestors--who were commemorating the democracy rallies of August 8, 1988, during which hundreds were shot dead, including two monks and two students.

Ohn Kyaing, who also uses the name Aung Wint, is the former editor of the newspaper Botahtaung and one of Burma's most prominent journalists. He retired from Botahtaung in December 1988 to become more involved in the pro-democracy movement, according to the PEN American Center. In 1990, Ohn Kyaing was elected to Parliament for the NLD, representing a district in Mandalay. (The results of the elections, which the NLD won, were never honored by the military junta.) A leading intellectual, he continued to write. Thein Tan, whose name is sometimes written as Thein Dan, is also a freelance writer and political activist associated with the NLD.

PEN reported that in mid-1991, Ohn Kyaing received an additional sentence of 10 years in prison under the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act for his involvement in drafting a pamphlet for the NLD titled "The Three Paths to Power." Thein Tan also received an additional 10-year sentence, according to Amnesty International, presumably for the same reason.

In a list of Burmese political prisoners published in April 2001, Amnesty International reported that the sentences of both men were reduced to 10 years on January 1, 1993. However, Ohn Kyaing and Thein Tan remained in prison at the end of 2003. Ohn Kyaing was jailed at Taungoo Prison, and Thein Tan was jailed at Thayet Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.


Maung Maung Lay Ngwe, Pe-Tin-Than

Imprisoned: September 1990

Maung Maung Lay Ngwe was arrested and charged with writing and distributing publications that "make people lose respect for the government." The publications were titled, collectively, Pe-Tin-Than (Echoes). CPJ believes that he may have been released but has not been able to confirm his legal status or find records of his sentencing.

Sein Hla Oo
, freelance

Imprisoned: August 5, 1994

Sein Hla Oo, a freelance journalist and former editor of the newspaper Botahtaung, was arrested along with dissident writer San San Nwe on charges of contacting antigovernment groups and spreading information damaging to the state. On October 6, 1994, Sein Hla Oo was sentenced to seven years in prison. San San Nwe and three other dissidents, including a former UNICEF worker, received sentences ranging from seven to 15 years in prison on similar charges.

Officials said the five had "fabricated and sent anti-government reports" to diplomats in foreign embassies, foreign radio stations, and foreign journalists. Sein Hla Oo, elected in 1990 to Parliament representing the National League for Democracy (NLD), had been imprisoned previously for his political activities.

Though San San Nwe was granted an early release in July 2001 along with 10 other political prisoners associated with the NLD, Sein Hla Oo remained in jail. He was held at Myitkyina Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.

Though Sein Hla Oo's sentence should have expired in August 2001, he is now being forced to serve the remainder of an earlier 10-year prison sentence, issued by a military court in Insein Prison in March 1991, according to his wife, Shwe Zin. Authorities had arrested Sein Hla Oo in August 1990 along with several other NLD members but released him under an amnesty order in April 1992. Shwe Zin told the Oslo-based opposition radio station Democratic Voice of Burma in an interview that her husband had signed a document in October 2001 agreeing to abide by Article 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which allows prisoners' sentences to be suspended if they pledge not to engage in activities that threaten public order.


Aung Htun, freelance

Tha Ban, freelance

Imprisoned: February 1998

Aung Htun, a writer and activist with the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, was arrested in February 1998 for writing a seven-volume book documenting the history of the Burmese student movement. He was sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison, according to a joint report published in December 2001 by the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma and the Burma Lawyers Council. Aung Htun was sentenced to three years for allegedly violating the 1962 Printer and Publishers Registration Act, seven years under the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, and another seven years under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act. He is jailed at Tharawaddy Prison.

In April 1998, the All Burma Students Democratic Front announced that five others were also prosecuted for contributing to the books, including journalist Tha Ban, a former editor at Kyemon newspaper and a prominent Arakanese activist. Tha Ban, whose name is sometimes written as Thar Ban, was sentenced to seven years in prison. He is being held at Insein Prison.

In August 2002, the human rights group Amnesty International issued an urgent appeal on behalf of Aung Htun and Tha Ban, saying that both journalists required immediate medical attention. Amnesty reported that Aung Htun "has growths on his feet which require investigation, is unable to walk, and suffers from asthma," and that Tha Ban's eyesight has "seriously deteriorated." According to the BBC, Tha Ban was allowed to undergo surgery for his failing eyesight in November 2003.


Aung Pwint
, freelance

Thaung Tun, freelance

Imprisoned: October 1999

Aung Pwint, a videographer, editor, and poet, and Thaung Tun, an editor, reporter, and poet better known by his pen name Nyein Thit, were arrested separately in early October 1999. CPJ sources said they were arrested for making independent video documentaries that portrayed "real life" in Burma, including footage of forced labor and hardship in rural areas. Aung Pwint worked at a private media company that produced videos for tourism and educational purposes, but he also worked with Thaung Tun on documentary-style projects. Their videotapes circulated through underground networks.

The military government had prohibited Aung Pwint from making videos in 1996 "because they were considered to show too negative a picture of Burmese society and living standards," according to Human Rights Watch, which awarded Aung Pwint a Hellman-Hammett grant in 2001. A notable poet, he has also written under the name Maung Aung Pwint.

The two men were tried together, and each was sentenced to eight years in prison, according to CPJ sources. Aung Pwint was initially jailed at Insein Prison but was later transferred to Tharawaddy Prison, according to CPJ sources. Thaung Tun was jailed at Moulmein Prison, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.

Zaw Thet Htway, First Eleven

Imprisoned: July 17, 2003

Zaw Thet Htway, screenwriter and editor of the popular sports monthly First Eleven, was arrested with four other First Eleven journalists, all of whom were soon released, when military intelligence officers raided the magazine's offices in the capital, Rangoon. According to exile groups, the officers beat Zaw Thet Htway during the arrest.

On November 28, Zaw Thet Htway and eight other individuals, including a lawyer and a member of an opposition party, were charged with high treason and sentenced to death at a special court in Burma's notorious Insein Prison. Although death sentences are rarely carried out in Burma, according to exiled Burmese journalists, the harsh sentence was intended to send a strong warning to journalists inside the country.

The eight other defendants who were sentenced to death had also been arrested in mid-July. According to The Associated Press (AP), the government accused all nine of plotting to overthrow Burma's ruling junta, and of being involved with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

In June, First Eleven had received a government warning after it published an article that month questioning how grant money from the international community for the development of soccer in the country had been spent, according to The Irrawaddy, a Bangkok-based news magazine run by exiled Burmese journalists.

In a statement released soon after the arrests, the government denied that Htway was arrested because of his work as a journalist and said he was detained "on a totally different subject" but did not provide further details, according to the AP.

The journalist's arrest came amid a crackdown by Burma's ruling military junta that began on May 30, when pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested along with as many as 17 other NLD members.

Htway spent several years in jail in the 1990s because of his work with the Democratic Party for a New Society, a banned political party now operating in exile. Family members told Agence France-Presse that he has also been accused of being in contact with "unlawful elements" in the party. The AP reported that his wife, Khine Cho, was not allowed in the court for the sentencing, but that she plans to appeal the conviction.


CHINA: 39

Chen Renjie
, "Ziyou Bao"

Lin Youping, "Ziyou Bao"

Imprisoned: July 1983

In September 1982, Chen, Lin, and Chen Biling wrote and published a pamphlet titled "Ziyou Bao" (Freedom Report), distributing about 300 copies in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. They were arrested in July 1983 and accused of making contact with Taiwanese spy groups and publishing a counter-revolutionary pamphlet. According to official government records of the case, the men used "propaganda and incitement to encourage the overthrow of the people's democratic dictatorship and the socialist system." In August 1983, Chen Renjie was sentenced to life in prison, and Lin Youping was sentenced to death with reprieve. Chen Biling was sentenced to death and later executed.



Hu Liping
, Beijing Ribao

Imprisoned: April 7, 1990

Hu, a staff member of Beijing Ribao (Beijing Daily), was arrested and charged with "counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda" and "trafficking in state secrets," according to a rare release of information on his case from the Chinese Ministry of Justice in 1998. The Beijing Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison on August 15, 1990. Under the terms of his original sentence, Hu should have been released in 2000, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information about his legal status.



Chen Yanbin
, Tieliu

Imprisoned: September 1990

Chen and Zhang Yafei, both university students, were arrested and charged with counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda for publishing Tieliu (IronCurrents), an underground publication about the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square. Several hundred mimeographed copies of the publication were distributed. Chen was sentenced to 15 years in prison and four years without political rights after his release. Zhang was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years without political rights after his release. However, Zhang was freed on January 6, 2000, after showing "genuine repentance and a willingness to reform." In September 2000, the Justice Ministry announced that Chen's sentence had been reduced by three months for good behavior.



Liu Jingsheng
, freelance

Imprisoned: May 28, 1992

Liu was arrested and charged with "organizing and leading a counterrevolutionary group and spreading counterrevolutionary propaganda." He was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being tried secretly in July 1994.

Liu had belonged to labor and pro-democracy groups, including the Liberal Democratic Party of China, the Free Labor Union of China, and the Chinese Progressive Alliance, and had written articles supporting the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations. During the Democracy Wall movement in 1979, Liu co-edited the pro-democracy journal Tansuo (Explorations) with dissident Wei Jingsheng.

Court documents stated that Liu was involved in organizing and leading antigovernment and pro-democracy activities. Prosecutors also accused him and other dissidents who were tried on similar charges of writing and printing political leaflets that were distributed in June 1992, during the third anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. Liu has had his sentence reduced three times for good behavior by a total of one year and eight months. In May 2002, on the 10th anniversary of her husband's arrest, Liu's wife, Jin Yanming, wrote an account of his imprisonment, trial, and security officials' subsequent harassment of her family. The document was distributed online.



Wu Shishen
, Xinhua News Agency

Ma Tao, Zhongguo Jiankang Jiaoyu Bao

Imprisoned: November 6, 1992

Wu, an editor for China's state news agency, Xinhua, was arrested for allegedly leaking an advance copy of President Jiang Zemin's 14th Communist Party Congress address to a journalist from the now defunct Hong Kong newspaper Kuai Bao (Express). His wife, Ma, editor of Zhongguo Jiankang Jiaoyu Bao (China Health Education News), was arrested on the same day and accused of acting as Wu's accomplice. The Beijing Municipal Intermediate People's Court held a closed trial and on August 30, 1993, sentenced Wu to life imprisonment for "illegally supplying state secrets to foreigners." Ma was sentenced to six years in prison. According to the terms of her original sentence, Ma should have been released in November 1998, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information on her legal status.



Fan Yingshang, Remen Huati

Sentenced: February 7, 1996

In 1994, Fan and Yang Jianguo printed more than 60,000 copies of the magazine Remen Huati (Popular Topics). The men had allegedly purchased fake printing authorizations from an editor of the Journal of European Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, according to official Chinese news sources. CPJ was unable to determine the date of Fan's arrest, but on February 7, 1996, the Chang'an District Court in Shijiazhuang City sentenced him to 15 years in prison for "engaging in speculation and profiteering." Authorities termed Remen Huati a "reactionary" publication. Yang escaped arrest and was not sentenced.



Hua Di, freelance

Imprisoned: January 5, 1998

Hua, a permanent resident of the United States, was arrested while visiting China and charged with revealing state secrets. The charge is believed to stem from articles that Hua, a scientist at Stanford University, had written about China's missile defense system.

On November 25, 1999, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court held a closed trial and sentenced Hua to 15 years in prison, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. In March 2000, the Beijing High People's Court overturned Hua's conviction and ordered that the case be retried. This judicial reversal was extraordinary, particularly for a high-profile political case. Nevertheless, in April 2000, the Beijing State Security Bureau rejected a request for Hua to be released on medical parole; he suffers from a rare form of male breast cancer.

On November 23, 2000, after a retrial, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court issued a slightly modified verdict, sentencing Hua to 10 years in prison. News of Hua's sentencing broke in February 2001, when a relative gave the information to foreign correspondents based in Beijing. In late 2001, Hua was moved to Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai, according to CPJ sources.



Liu Xianli
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 1998

The Beijing Intermediate Court found writer Liu guilty of subversion and sentenced him to four years in prison, according to a report by the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

Liu was imprisoned for attempting to publish a book on Chinese dissidents, including Xu Wenli, one of China's most prominent political prisoners and a leading figure in the China Democracy Party. In December 1998, Xu was himself convicted of subversion and sentenced to 13 years in prison. On December 24, 2002, Xu was released on medical parole and deported to the United States.

According to the terms of his original sentence, Liu should have been released in March 2002, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information on his legal status.



Gao Qinrong
, Xinhua News Agency

Imprisoned: December 4, 1998

Gao, a reporter for China's state news agency, Xinhua, was jailed for reporting on a corrupt irrigation scheme in drought-plagued Yuncheng, Shanxi Province. Xinhua never carried Gao's article, which was finally published on May 27, 1998, in an internal reference edition of the official People's Daily that is distributed only among a select group of party leaders. But by fall 1998, the irrigation scandal had become national news, with reports appearing in the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern Weekend) and on China Central Television. Gao's wife, Duan Maoying, said that local officials blamed Gao for the flurry of media interest and arranged for his prosecution on false charges.

Gao was arrested on December 4, 1998, and eventually charged with crimes including bribery, embezzlement, and pimping, according to Duan. On April 28, 1999, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison after a closed, one-day trial. He is being held in a prison in Qixian, Shanxi Province, according to CPJ sources.

In September 2001, Gao wrote to Mary Robinson, then the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, and asked her to intercede with the Chinese government on his behalf. Gao has received support from several members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference of the National People's Congress, who issued a motion at its annual parliamentary meeting in March 2001 urging the Central Discipline Committee and Supreme People's Court to reopen his case. But by the end of 2003, there had been no change in his legal status.



Yue Tianxiang, Zhongguo Gongren Guancha

Imprisoned: January 1999

The Tianshui People's Intermediate Court in Gansu Province sentenced Yue to 10 years in prison on July 5, 1999. The journalist was charged with "subverting state power," according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Yue was arrested along with two colleagues--Wang Fengshan and Guo Xinmin--both of whom were sentenced to two years in prison and have since been released. According to the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, Yue, Guo, and Wang were arrested in January 1999 for publishing Zhongguo Gongren Guancha (China Workers' Monitor), a journal that campaigned for workers' rights.

With help from Wang, Yue and Guo started the journal after they were unable to get compensation from the Tianshui City Transport Agency following their dismissal from the company in 1995. All three men reportedly belonged to the outlawed China Democracy Party, a dissident group, and were forming an organization to protect the rights of laid-off workers. The first issue of Zhongguo Gongren Guancha exposed extensive corruption among officials at the Tianshui City Transport Agency. Only two issues were ever published.



Wu Yilong
, Zaiye Dang

Imprisoned: April 26, 1999

Mao Qingxiang, Zaiye Dang

Zhu Yufu, Zaiye Dang

Xu Guang, Zaiye Dang

Imprisoned: June 1999

Wu, an organizer for the banned China Democracy Party (CDP), was detained by police in Guangzhou on April 26, 1999. Mao, Zhu, and Xu, also leading CDP activists, were reportedly detained sometime around June 4, the 10th anniversary of the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. The four were later charged with subversion for, among other things, establishing a magazine called Zaiye Dang (Opposition Party) and circulating pro-democracy writings online.

On October 25, 1999, the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang Province conducted what The New York Times described as a "sham trial." On November 9, 1999, all four journalists were convicted of subversion. Wu was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Mao was sentenced to eight years; Zhu, to seven years; and Xu, to five years.

In December 2002, Mao was transferred to a convalescence hospital after his health had sharply declined as a result of being confined to his cell. Zhu, who has also been confined to his cell and forbidden from reading newspapers, was placed under tightened restrictions in 2002 after refusing to express regret for his actions, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China.



Zhang Ji
, freelance

Imprisoned: October 1999

Zhang, a student at the University of Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province, was charged on November 8, 1999, with "disseminating reactionary documents via the Internet," according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

Zhang had allegedly distributed news and information about the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong. He was arrested sometime in October 1999 as part of the Chinese government's crackdown on the sect.

Using the Internet, Zhang reportedly transmitted news of the crackdown to Falun Gong members in the United States and Canada and also received reports from abroad, which he then circulated among practitioners in China. Before Zhang's arrest, Chinese authorities had increased Internet surveillance in their efforts to crush Falun Gong.



Huang Qi
, Tianwang Web site

Imprisoned: June 3, 2000

Public security officials came to Huang's office and arrested him for articles that had appeared on the Tianwang Web site, which he published. In January 2001, he was charged with subversion.

On August 14, 2001, the Chengdu Intermediate Court in Sichuan Province held a closed trial after postponing the trial date several times. On May 9, 2003, almost two years after the trial, the court sentenced Huang Qi to five years in prison and one subsequent year without political rights. Huang was sentenced under Articles 69, 103, and 105 of the Criminal Law, which cover the crimes of "splitting the country" and subversion.

In October 1998, Huang and his wife, Zeng Li, launched Tianwang (www.6-4tianwang.com), a missing-persons search service based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. The site soon became a forum for users to publicize abuses of power by local officials and to post articles about a variety of topics, including the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, the independence movement in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and the banned spiritual group Falun Gong.

In December 1999, Huang published an investigative report about labor abuses committed against workers whom the Sichuan provincial government had sent abroad. While several domestic newspapers subsequently investigated and published stories on the case, authorities in Chengdu began threatening Huang and repeatedly interrogated him about his reporting.

Huang has been beaten in prison and has tried to commit suicide, according to an open letter he wrote from prison in February 2001 that was published on the Tianwang site. His family members, including his wife and young son, have only been allowed to visit Huang once, in November 2003.

Huang's family was not notified of his sentencing hearing and only learned of Huang's conviction after Zeng Li called the court. On May 18, 2003, Huang Qi appealed his sentence, pointing out that China's constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and of the press. Huang's trial had been postponed several times throughout 2001 in an apparent effort to deflect international attention from China's human rights practices during the country's campaign to host the 2008 Olympic Games. (Two of the trial delays--on February 23 and June 27--coincided with important dates in Beijing's Olympics bid.)


Xu Zerong
, freelance

Imprisoned: June 24, 2000

Xu was arrested in the city of Guangzhou and held incommunicado for 19 months before being tried by the Shenzhen Intermediate Court in January 2002. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of "leaking state secrets," and to an additional three years on charges of committing "economic crimes."

Xu, an associate research professor at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, has written several freelance articles about China's foreign policy and co-founded a Hong Kong-based academic journal, Zhongguo Shehui Kexue Jikan (China Social Sciences Quarterly). Xu is a permanent resident of Hong Kong.

Chinese officials have said that the "state secrets" charges against Xu stem from his use of historical materials for his academic research. In 1992, Xu photocopied four books published in the 1950s about China's role in the Korean War, which he then sent to a colleague in South Korea, according to a letter from the Chinese government to St. Antony's College, Oxford University. (Xu earned his Ph.D. at St. Antony's College, and since his arrest, college personnel have actively researched and protested his case.) The Security Committee of the People's Liberation Army in Guangzhou later determined that these documents should be labeled "top secret."

The "economic crimes" charges are related to the "illegal publication" of more than 60,000 copies of 25 books and periodicals since 1993, including several books about Chinese politics and Beijing's relations with Taiwan, according to official government documents.

Some observers believe that the charges against Xu are more likely related to an article he wrote for the Hong Kong-based Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) newsmagazine revealing clandestine Chinese Communist Party support for Malaysian communist insurgency groups. Xu was arrested only days before the article appeared in the June 26, 2000, issue. In the article, Xu accused the Chinese Communist Party of hypocrisy for condemning the United States and other countries for interfering in China's internal affairs by criticizing its human rights record. "China's support of world revolution is based on the concept of 'class above sovereignty'... which is equivalent to the idea of 'human rights above sovereignty,' which the U.S. promotes today," Xu wrote.

Xu's family has filed an appeal, which was pending at the end of 2003.



Guo Qinghai
, freelance

Imprisoned: September 15, 2000

Guo was arrested after posting numerous essays on overseas online bulletin boards calling for political reforms in China. In essays posted under the pen name Qing Song, Guo covered a variety of topics, including political prisoners, environmental problems, and corruption. In one essay, Guo discussed the importance of a free press, saying, "Those who oppose lifting media censorship argue that it will negatively influence social stability. But according to what I have seen ... countries that control speech may be able to maintain stability in the short term, but the end result is often violent upheaval, coup d'états, or war."

On April 3, 2001, the Cangzhou Intermediate People's Court in Hebei Province tried Guo on subversion charges. On April 26, he was sentenced to four years in prison. Sentencing papers cited 27 articles that Guo had written between October 1999 and September 2000 as evidence, including one titled "Be An Eternal Opponent," which advocated Western-style democracy, according to prosecutors.

Guo, who worked in a bank, also wrote articles for Taiwanese newspapers. He was a friend and classmate of writer Qi Yanchen, who was sentenced to four years in prison on subversion charges just four days after Guo's arrest. One of Guo's last online essays appealed for Qi's release. Qi Yanchen was freed from prison in April 2003.

Liu Weifang, freelance

Imprisoned: October 2000

Liu was arrested sometime after September 26, 2000, when security officials from the Ninth Agricultural Brigade District, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, came to his house, confiscated his computer, and announced that he was being officially investigated, according to an account that Liu posted online. His most recent essay is dated October 20, 2000.

Liu had recently posted a number of essays criticizing China's leaders and political system in Internet chat rooms. The essays, which the author signed either with his real name or with the initials "lgwf," covered topics such as official corruption, development policies in China's western regions, and environmental issues. The articles are available online at http://liuweifang.ipfox.com.

"The reasons for my actions are all above-board," Liu wrote in one essay. "They are not aimed at any one person or any organization; rather, they are directed at any behavior in society that harms humanity. The goal is to speed up humanity's progress and development." The official Xinjiang Daily characterized Liu's work as "a major threat to national security." According to a June 15, 2001, report in the Xinjiang Daily, the Ninth Agricultural Brigade District's Intermediate People's Court had sentenced Liu to three years in prison.



Jiang Weiping
, freelance

Imprisoned: December 4, 2000

Jiang, a freelance journalist, was arrested after he published a number of articles in the Hong Kong-based magazine Qianshao (Frontline), a Chinese-language monthlyfocusing on mainland affairs, revealing corruption scandals in northeastern China.

Jiang wrote the Qianshao articles, which were published between June and September 1999, under various pen names. His coverage exposed several major corruption scandals involving high-level officials. Notably, Jiang reported that Shenyang Vice Mayor Ma Xiangdong had lost nearly 30 million yuan (US$3.6 million) in public funds gambling in Macau casinos. Jiang also revealed that Liaoning provincial Governor Bo Xilai had covered up corruption among his friends and family during his years as Dalian mayor.

Soon after these cases were publicized in Qianshao and other Hong Kong media, central authorities detained Ma. He was accused of taking bribes, embezzling public funds, and gambling overseas and was executed for these crimes in December 2001. After Ma's arrest, his case was widely reported in the domestic press and used as an example in the government's ongoing fight against corruption. How-ever, in May 2001, Jiang was indicted for "revealing state secrets."

The Dalian Intermediate Court held a secret trial in September 2001. On January 25, 2002, the court formally sentenced Jiang to eight years in prison on charges including "inciting to subvert state power" and "illegally providing state secrets overseas." This judgment amended an earlier decision to sentence Jiang to nine years. During the January sentencing, Jiang proclaimed his innocence and told the court that the verdict "trampled on the law," according to CPJ sources. Jiang immediately appealed his sentence to the Liaoning Province Higher People's Court. On December 26, 2002, the court heard the appeal and, while upholding Jiang's guilty verdict, reduced his sentence to six years, according to the California-based Dui Hua Foundation, which has been in direct contact with the Chinese government about the case. A court official told The Associated Press that, "We just thought that his criminal records were not as serious as previously concluded."

According to CPJ sources, Jiang has a serious stomach disorder and has been denied medical treatment. Jiang's wife and daughter have not been allowed to see or speak with him in the three years since his arrest. His wife, Li Yanling, has been repeatedly interrogated and threatened since her husband's arrest. In March 2002, the local public security bureau brought her in for questioning and detained her for several weeks.

An experienced journalist, Jiang had worked until May 2000 as the northeastern China bureau chief for the Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Hui Bao. He contributed freelance articles to Qianshao. In the 1980s, he worked as a Dalian-based correspondent for Xinhua, China's official news agency.

In November 2001, CPJ honored Jiang with its annual International Press Freedom Award. In February 2002, CPJ sent appeals to Chinese President Jiang Zemin from almost 600 supporters--including CBS news anchor Dan Rather, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, and former U.S. Ambassador to China Winston Lord--demanding Jiang's unconditional release. That month, U.S. President George W. Bush highlighted Jiang's case in meetings with Jiang Zemin during a state visit to China.



Lu Xinhua
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 10, 2001

Lu was arrested in Wuhan, Hubei Province, after articles he had written about rural unrest and official corruption appeared on various Internet news sites based overseas. On April 20, 2001, he was charged with "inciting to subvert state power," a charge frequently used against journalists who write about politically sensitive subjects. Lu's trial began on September 18. On December 30, 2001, he was sentenced to four years in prison.



Yang Zili
, Yangzi de Sixiang Jiayuan Web site

Xu Wei, Xiaofei Ribao

Jin Haike, freelance

Zhang Honghai, freelance

Imprisoned: March 13, 2001

Yang, Xu, Jin, and Zhang were detained on March 13 and charged with subversion on April 20. On May 29, 2003, the Beijing Intermediate Court sentenced Xu and Jin to 10 years in prison each on subversion charges, while Yang and Zhang were sentenced to eight years each on similar charges.

The four were active participants in the Xin Qingnian Xuehui (New Youth Study Group), an informal gathering of individuals who explored topics related to political and social reform and used the Internet to circulate relevant articles.

Yang, the group's most prominent member, published a Web site, Yangzi de Sixiang Jiayuan (Yangzi's Garden of Ideas), which featured poems, essays, and reports by various authors on subjects such as the shortcomings of rural elections. Authorities closed the site after Yang's arrest.

When Xu, a reporter with Xiaofei Ribao (Consumer Daily), was detained on March 13, 2001, authorities confiscated his computer, other professional equipment, and books, according to an account published online by his girlfriend, Wang Ying. Wang reported that public security officials also ordered Xiaofei Ribao to fire Xu. The newspaper has refused to discuss his case with reporters, according to The Associated Press.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court tried all four on September 28, 2001. Prosecutors focused predominately on the group's writings, including two essays circulated on the Internet called "Be a New Citizen, Reform China" and "What's to Be Done?" According to the indictment papers, these articles demonstrated the group's intention "to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party's leadership and the socialist system and subvert the regime of the people's democratic dictatorship." In November 2003, the Beijing Supreme People's Court rejected an appeal filed by a lawyer for Yang, Xu, Jin, and Zhang. In the appeal, the defense noted that three key witnesses who testified for the prosecution against the four men have since retracted their original testimony.



Liu Haofeng
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 2001

Liu was secretly arrested in Shanghai in mid-March 2001 while conducting research on social conditions in rural China for the dissident China Democracy Party (CDP). On May 16, 2001, Liu was sentenced to "re-education through labor," a form of administrative detention that allows officials to send individuals to labor camps for up to three years without trial or formal charges.

After Liu's arrest, friends and family were not informed of his whereabouts, and CDP members say they only found out what had happened to him when they received news of his sentence in August 2001.

Sentencing papers issued by the Shanghai Re-education Through Labor Committee cited several alleged offenses, including a policy paper and an essay written by Liu that were published under different pen names on the CDP's Web site. The essay focused on the current situation of China's peasants. The committee also accused Liu of trying to form an illegal organization, the China Democracy Party Joint Headquarters, Second Front.

The journalist had previously worked as an editor and reporter for various publications, including the magazine Jishu Jingji Yu Guanli (Technology, Economy, and Management), run by the Fujian Province Economic and Trade Committee, and Zhongguo Shichang Jingji Bao (China Market Economy News), run by the Central Party School in the capital, Beijing. Beginning in 1999, he worked for Univillage, a research organization focusing on rural democratization, and managed its Web site. He was working as a freelance journalist at the time of his arrest.



Wang Jinbo
, freelance

Imprisoned: May 2001

Wang, a freelance journalist, was arrested in early May 2001 for e-mailing essays to overseas organizations arguing that the government should change its official view that the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square were "counterrevolutionary." In October 2001, Wang was formally charged with "inciting to subvert state power." On November 14, the Junan County Court in Shandong Province held a closed trial; only the journalists' relatives were allowed to attend. On December 13, 2001, Wang was sentenced to four years in prison.

Wang, a member of the banned China Democracy Party, had been detained several times in the past for his political activities. In February 2001, days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) visited Beijing, he was briefly taken into custody after signing an open letter calling on the IOC to pressure China to release political prisoners. A number of Wang's essays have been posted on various Internet sites. One, titled "My Account of Police Violations of Civil Rights," describes his January 2001 detention, during which police interrogated him and held him for 20 hours with no food or heat after he signed an open letter calling for the release of political prisoners.



Tao Haidong
, freelance

Imprisoned: July 9, 2002

Tao, an Internet essayist and pro-democracy activist, was arrested in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and charged with "incitement to subvert state power." According to the Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum) Web site, which had published Tao's recent writing, his articles focused on political and legal reform. In one essay, titled "Strategies for China's Social Reforms," Tao wrote that "the Chinese Communist Party and democracy activists throughout society should unite to push forward China's freedom and democratic development or else stand condemned through the ages."

Previously, in 1999, Tao was sentenced to three years of "re-education through labor" in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China, because of his essays and his work on a book titled Xin Renlei Shexiang (Imaginings of a New Human Race). After his early release in 2001, Tao began writing essays and articles and publishing them on various domestic and overseas Web sites.

In early January 2003, the Urumqi Intermediate Court sentenced Tao to seven years in prison.



Zhang Wei
, Shishi Zixun, Redian Jiyao

Imprisoned: July 19, 2002

Zhang was arrested and charged with illegal publishing after producing and selling two underground newspapers in Chongqing, in central China. According to an account published on the Web site of the Chongqing Press and Publishing Administration, a provincial government body that governs all local publications, beginning in April 2001, Zhang edited two newspapers, Shishi Zixun (Current Events) and Redian Jiyao (Summary of the Main Points), which included articles and graphics he had downloaded from the Internet.

Two of Zhang's business associates, Zuo Shangwen and Ou Yan, were also arrested on July 19, 2002, and indicted for their involvement with the publications. Zuo printed the publications in neighboring Sichuan Province while Ou managed the publications' finances. At the time of their arrests, police confiscated 9,700 copies of Shishi Zixun.

The official account of their arrests stated that the two publications had "flooded" Chongqing's publishing market. The government declared that "the political rumors, shocking 'military reports,' and other articles in these illegal publications misled the public, poisoned the youth, negatively influenced society and sparked public indignation." Zhang, Zuo, and Ou printed more than 1.5 million copies of the publications and sold them in Chongqing, Chengdu, and other cities.

On December 25, 2002, the Yuzhong District Court in Chongqing sentenced Zhang to six years in prison and fined him 100,000 yuan (US$12,000), the amount that police said he had earned in profits from the publications. Zuo was sentenced to five years and fined 50,000 yuan (US$6,000), while Ou was sentenced to two years in prison.


Chen Shaowen
, freelance

Imprisoned: August 2002

Chen, a freelance writer, was arrested on suspicion of "using the Internet to subvert state power," according to a September 14, 2002, report in the official Hunan Daily. The article did not give the date of Chen's arrest, although Boxun News, an overseas online news service, reported that he was arrested on August 6, 2002.

Chen, who lives in Lianyuan, Hunan Province, has written numerous essays and articles for various overseas Chinese-language Web sites, including the online magazine Huang Hua Gang and Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum). According to his biography on the Minzhu Luntan Web site (asiademo.org), Chen's essays covered topics including China's unemployment problem, social inequalities, and flaws in the legal system.

The Hunan Daily article accused Chen of "repeatedly browsing reactionary websites ... sending in numerous articles of all sorts, fabricating, distorting and exaggerating relevant facts, and vilifying the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system." The report stated that Chen had published more than 40 articles on overseas "reactionary" Web sites. Chen is still under investigation, and it is not clear whether he has been formally charged.



Jae Hyun Seok
, freelance

Imprisoned: January 17, 2003

Freelance photojournalist Seok was arrested by Chinese police while photographing two groups of about 60 North Korean refugees in Yantai, Shandong Province, who were trying to board two fishing boats bound for Cheju Island, South Korea, and Sasebo Island, Japan. Officers also arrested the refugees and a South Korean aid worker.

Seok, a South Korean national, was filming the boatlift as part of a journalistic project documenting the plight of North Korean refugees in China, according to his friends and colleagues who spoke with him shortly before he was arrested. Seok regularly works for The New York Times and other publications but was working independently at the time of his arrest.

Soon after Seok was detained, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson acknowledged that two South Koreans were arrested with the refugees, but she did not confirm their identities. "They are suspected of smuggling or organizing smuggling activities and now are in criminal detention," she said.

On May 22, a Yantai court sentenced Seok to two years in prison on charges of human trafficking. On December 19, a court in Shandong Province rejected an appeal filed by Seok and upheld his original sentence. The appeal hearing, which was originally set for June 2003, was postponed until mid-July and then further delayed without explanation.

According to CPJ sources, while in prison, Seok has suffered from a skin infection on his face, as well as other medical problems.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have fled to China to escape severe food shortages and political repression. China considers the refugees economic migrants and regularly repatriates them to North Korea, where they often face imprisonment or other types of persecution. As a part of the Chinese government's crackdown on North Korean refugees, authorities have harassed journalists who report on their plight.



Cai Lujun
, freelance

Imprisoned February 21, 2003

Cai was arrested at his home in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. In October 2003, the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to three years in prison on charges of subversion.

Cai, 35, had used pen names to write numerous essays distributed online calling for political reforms. His articles included "Political Democracy Is the Means; A Powerful Country and Prosperous Citizenry Is the Goal," "An Outline for Building and Governing the Country," and "The Course of Chinese Democracy."

Following the November 2002 arrest of Internet essayist Liu Di, Cai Lujun began to publish online essays under his own name calling for Liu's release and expressing his political views. (Liu was released on November 28, 2003.)



Luo Changfu
, freelance

Imprisoned March 13, 2003

Public security officials arrested Luo from his home in Chongqing municipality and charged him with "subversion." On November 6, 2003, the Chongqing Number One Intermediate Court sentenced him to three years in prison.

Luo, 40, is an unemployed factory worker. Before his arrest, he had actively campaigned for the release of Internet essayist Liu Di, who was arrested in November 2002 and released on bail a year later. Luo had written a series of articles calling for Liu's release and protesting the Chinese government's censorship of online speech. His essays also called for political reforms in China.

In the 1980s, Luo was sent to a re-education-through-labor camp for three years for his dissident activities, according to the New York-based organization Human Rights in China.


Yan Jun
, freelance

Imprisoned: April 2003

Yan disappeared in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, in April 2003, and his family members did not know his whereabouts until May 9, when public security officials notified them that Yan had been charged with subversion.

On December 8, 2003, the Xi'an Intermediate People's Court sentenced Yan to two years in prison in a trial that lasted 20 minutes, his mother said.

Yan, a high school biology teacher, had published several essays online advocating political reforms, freedom of expression, and a free press. His articles also called for the release of Zhao Ziyang, the former general secretary of the Communist Party who has been under house arrest in Beijing since he expressed support for pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989, according to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. He also expressed support for independent labor unions and workers' rights. Yan had created a Web site where he posted his writing.

In July 2003, Yan's mother told journalists that he had been sent to the hospital after being beaten in prison.



Luo Yongzhong
, freelance

Imprisoned: June 14, 2003

Luo, who has written numerous articles that have been distributed online, was detained on June 14 in Changchun, Jilin Province. On July 7, he was formally arrested. On October 14, the Changchun Intermediate Court sentenced him to three years in prison and two years without political rights upon his release, which is scheduled for June 13, 2006.

In sentencing papers, which have been widely distributed online, the court stated that between May and June 2003, Luo wrote several essays that "attacked the socialist system, incited to subvert state power, and created a negative influence on society." Several specific articles were cited as evidence, including "At Last We See the Danger of the Three Represents!"--a reference to a political theory formulated by former President Jiang Zemin, and "Tell Today's Youth the Truth about June 4," a reference to the military crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in June 1989. According to the court papers, the articles were published on online forums including Shuijing Luntan (Crystal) Web site.

Luo, who has a crippled leg, has also written a number of articles advocating the rights of disabled people.



Du Daobin
, freelance

Imprisoned October 28, 2003

At about 4:00 p.m. on October 28, Internet essayist Du Daobin was arrested and brought to the Public Security Bureau in Xiaogan District, Yingcheng, Hubei Province, according to writer Liu Xiaobo, who first published news of Du's arrest online. Later that day, police came to Du's house and confiscated his computer, books, and copies of his writings.

When Du's wife asked police why he had been arrested, the officer responded, "We have spoken to Du Daobin several times, but he did not listen. He has already crossed the line." According to Liu, the officer also warned his wife against telling foreign journalists about the arrest.

On November 12, officials from the Xiaogan Public Security Bureau delivered a formal arrest warrant to Du's house, which stated that he was being held on charges of "incitement to subvert state power" and that he was detained in the Xiaogan Number One Detention Center. Du's wife has not been allowed to visit him.

Before his arrest, Du had been a prolific writer who distributed his essays online. Many of his essays offered commentary about official policies or social issues in China. In one essay, titled "Media Discipline is Greater Than the Constitution," Du argued that the Propaganda Bureau's stringent regulation of the media is unconstitutional. He called on Chinese citizens, especially journalists, to "exercise our innate right to disobey arbitrary power, to actively support all suppressed media, to reject the voices of the Party's 'mouthpieces,' and to fight against the tyranny of the Propaganda Bureau." His writing was published on several Chinese-language news sites, including Dajiyuan(Epoch Times, www.dajiyuan.com) and Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum, www.asiademo.org), both of which are based outside China.

Du was deeply affected by the arrest of fellow Internet journalist Liu Di, a 23-year-old college student, who was detained in Beijing on November 7, 2002. After Liu Di's arrest, Du vigorously called for her release and co-organized an online campaign to show solidarity by taking a series of actions, including spending one day in a darkened room to symbolically "Accompany Liu Di in Prison." He also wrote a number of essays supporting Liu Di, who was released on bail on November 28, 2003.

Kong Youping
, freelance

Imprisoned December 13, 2003

Kong, an essayist and poet, was arrested in Anshan, Liaoning Province. He had written articles online that supported democratic reforms and called for a reversal of the government's "counter-revolutionary" ruling on the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

Kong's essays included an appeal to democracy activists in China that stated, "In order to work well for democracy, we need a well-organized, strong, powerful and effective organization. Otherwise, a mainland democracy movement will accomplish nothing." Several of his articles and poems were posted on the Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum, www.asiademo.org) Web site.

In 1998, Kong served time in prison after he became a member of the Liaoning Province branch of the China Democracy Party, an opposition party. At the end of 2003, Kong had not yet been tried.



CUBA: 29

Alejandro González Raga
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

González Raga, an independent freelance journalist based in central Camagüey Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Camagüey Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Canaleta Prison in central Ciego de Ávila Province.



Alfredo Pulido López
, El Mayor

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Pulido López, the director of the independent news agency El Mayor in central Camagüey Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Camagüey Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Combinado del Este Prison in western Ciudad Habana Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



Edel José García Díaz
, Centro Norte del País

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

García Díaz, the Havana-based director of the independent news agency Centro Norte del País, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Boniato Prison in eastern Santiago de Cuba Province.



Iván Hernández Carrillo
, Patria

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Hernández Carrillo, a journalist with the independent news agency Patria in western Matanzas Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Matanzas Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Holguín Provincial Prison in eastern Holguín Province, hundreds of miles from his home.

On August 15, Hernández Carrillo joined imprisoned journalists Adolfo Fernández Saínz and Mario Enrique Mayo Hernández in a 13-day hunger strike to demand adequate food and medicine.

On October 18, prison officials placed him in a punishment cell for complaining about feeling ill. To protest his treatment, Hernández Carrillo began a hunger strike that ended in early November.



Jorge Olivera Castillo
, Havana Press

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Olivera Castillo, the Havana-based director of the independent news agency Havana Press, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Guantánamo Provincial Prison in eastern Guantánamo Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.



José Gabriel Ramón Castillo
, Instituto Cultura y Democracia Press

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Ramón Castillo, director of the independent news agency Instituto Cultura y Democracia Press, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and the political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Santiago de Cuba Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Santa Clara Provincial Prison in central Villa Clara Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



José Luis García Paneque
, Libertad

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

García Paneque, director of the independent news agency Libertad in eastern Las Tunas Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Las Tunas Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 24 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until mid-April, when he was sent to El Típico Prison in Las Tunas Province. In May, he was sent to Guamajal Prison in central Villa Clara Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In August, he was transferred to Santa Clara Provincial Prison, also in Villa Clara.



Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, freelance

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Gálvez Rodríguez, a Havana-based independent freelance journalist, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Santa Clara Provincial Prison in central Villa Clara Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



Léster Luis González Pentón
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

González Pentón, an independent journalist based in central Villa Clara Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Villa Clara Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Kilo 8 Prison in central Camagüey Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In November, he was transferred to Kilo 7 Prison, also in Camagüey.



Miguel Galván Gutiérrez
, Havana Press

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Galván Gutiérrez, a journalist with the independent news agency Havana Press, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 26 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Agüica Prison in western Matanzas Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.



Omar Rodríguez Saludes
, Nueva Prensa Cubana

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Rodríguez Saludes, director of the independent news agency Nueva Prensa Cubana, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 27 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Kilo 8 Prison in central Camagüey Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In December, he was transferred to Nieves Morejón Prison in central Sancti Spíritus Province.



Pedro Argüelles Morán
, Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Argüelles Morán, director of the independent news agency Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes in central Ciego de Ávila Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Ciego de Ávila Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Santa Clara Provincial Prison in central Villa Clara Province, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from his home.



Ricardo González Alfonso
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

González Alfonso, an independent freelance journalist and Cuba correspondent for the Paris-based press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Kilo 8 Prison in Camagüey Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.

González Alfonso is also the president of the independent journalists' association Sociedad de Periodistas Manuel Márquez Sterling, founded in May 2001. His house, which was used as the association's office, was raided on March 18.

In November, González Alfonso, who was earlier put in solitary confinement for seven months, was transferred to a cell with common criminals, who have harassed him. The journalist has suffered from high blood pressure and on November 18 had to be taken to a hospital, where doctors found two lumps in his throat and recommended their removal. While in the hospital, the journalist's personal belongings were stolen. According to his wife, independent journalist Álida Viso Bello, González Alfonso was scheduled to return to the hospital on December 19 to have the lumps removed, but the appointment was postponed until January 8, 2004.

González Alfonso went on a hunger strike on December 8, 2003, to demand his transfer to another unit within the prison where he can be with other political prisoners, said Viso Bello. As punishment for the strike, prison officials placed González Alfonso in a small cell with no running water that was lit 24 hours a day. He remained in the cell until late December.

On December 17, Viso Bello met with her husband for an hour in the presence of a prison official. Viso Bello, who did not expect to be allowed to see her husband, believes that she was able to meet with him because prison officials thought she could convince him to stop his hunger strike. González Alfonso halted the hunger strike on December 24, after prison authorities met his demands, Viso Bello told CPJ.



Víctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona
, Unión de Periodistas y Escritores de Cuba Independientes (UPECI)

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

Arroyo Carmona, a journalist with the independent news agency Unión de Periodistas y Escritores de Cuba Independientes (UPECI) in western Pinar del Río Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Pinar del Río Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Arroyo Carmona remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until late April, when he was sent to Guantánamo Provincial Prison in eastern Guantánamo Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



Adolfo Fernández Saínz
, Patria

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Fernández Saínz, a journalist with the independent news agency Patria, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Holguín Provincial Prison in eastern Holguín Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.

On August 15, Fernández Saínz joined imprisoned journalists Mario Enrique Mayo Hernández and Iván Hernández Carrillo in a 13-day hunger strike to demand adequate food and medicine.

Two months later, on October 18, Fernández Saínz and Mayo Hernández joined four other jailed dissidents in a hunger strike to protest the treatment of Hernández Carrillo, who was placed in a punishment cell after complaining about feeling ill. The strike ended in early November.

As punishment for his involvement in the hunger strike, Fernández Saínz was transferred to another unit within the same prison.



Alfredo Felipe Fuentes
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Fuentes, an independent freelance journalist based in western Habana Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 26 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Guamajal Prison in central Villa Clara Province, hundreds of miles from his home.

Carmelo Díaz Fernández
, Agencia de Prensa Sindical Independiente de Cuba

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Díaz Fernández, director of the independent news agency Agencia de Prensa Sindical Independiente de Cuba, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Guanajay Prison in western Habana Province.



Fabio Prieto Llorente
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Prieto Llorente, an independent freelance journalist based in western Isla de la Juventud Special Municipality, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Isla de la Juventud Special Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained jailed at police headquarters in Nueva Gerona, the capital of Isla de la Juventud, until early May, when he was sent to Guanajay Prison in western Habana Province, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from his home.



Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez
, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Maseda Gutiérrez, a journalist with the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State"; and under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Manacas Prison in central Villa Clara Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.

In May, he was transferred to La Pendiente Prison, also in Villa Clara Province. In July, the journalist's wife, Laura Pollán, told CPJ that he had been diagnosed with scabies and other skin rashes triggered by the conditions in the prison. Pollán said that prison authorities would not allow her to bring clean sheets and medicines to her husband.



José Ubaldo Izquierdo
, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Ubaldo Izquierdo, a journalist with the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro in western Habana Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Kilo 5 1/2 Prison in western Pinar del Río Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.



Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta
, Agencia de Prensa Libre Oriental

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Herrera Acosta, a journalist with the independent news agency Agencia de Prensa Libre Oriental in eastern Guantánamo Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Guantánamo Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Boniato Prison in eastern Santiago de Cuba Province.

On August 31, Herrera Acosta joined imprisoned journalists Manuel Vázquez Portal and Normando Hernández González and other jailed dissidents at Boniato Prison in a hunger strike that lasted one week. As punishment for his involvement in the strike, Herrera Acosta was transferred to Kilo 8 Prison in central Camagüey Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In November, he was transferred to Kilo 7 Prison, also in Camagüey.



Manuel Vázquez Portal
, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Vázquez Portal, a writer and journalist with the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Boniato Prison in eastern Santiago de Cuba Province, hundreds of miles from his home.

In May, Vázquez Portal wrote a prison diary, which was later smuggled out of prison, describing the harsh conditions in Boniato Prison. In recognition of the efforts by Cuban independent journalists to disseminate news in a climate of harsh government repression, CPJ honored Vázquez Portal with one of its International Press Freedom Awards in November.

On August 31, Vázquez Portal joined imprisoned journalist Normando Hernández González and other jailed dissidents at Boniato Prison in a hunger strike that lasted one week. As punishment for his involvement in the strike, Vázquez Portal was transferred to Aguadores Prison.

From November 9 to November 16, Vázquez Portal held another hunger strike to support other jailed journalists and dissidents who in October began a hunger strike at Holguín Provincial Prison.



Mario Enrique Mayo Hernández
, Félix Varela

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Mayo Hernández, the director of the independent news agency Félix Varela, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Camagüey Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Holguín Provincial Prison in eastern Holguín Province.

On August 15, Mayo Hernández joined imprisoned journalists Adolfo Fernández Saínz and Iván Hernández Carrillo in a 13-day hunger strike to demand better food and adequate medical attention.

Two months later, on October 18, Fernández Saínz and Mayo Hernández joined other jailed dissidents in another hunger strike to protest the treatment of Hernández Carrillo, who was placed in a punishment cell after complaining about feeling ill. As punishment for his involvement in the strike, Mayo Hernández was sent to Mar Verde Prison in neighboring Santiago de Cuba Province.



Mijaíl Bárzaga Lugo
, Agencia Noticiosa Cubana

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Bárzaga Lugo, a journalist with the independent news agency Agencia Noticiosa Cubana, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Santa Clara Provincial Prison in central Villa Clara Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



Normando Hernández González
, Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey (CPIC)

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Hernández González, director of the independent news agency Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey (CPIC), is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Camagüey Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Boniato Prison in eastern Santiago de Cuba Province, hundreds of miles from his home.

On August 31, Hernández González joined imprisoned journalist Manuel Vázquez Portal and other jailed dissidents at Boniato Prison in a hunger strike that lasted one week. As punishment for his involvement in the strike, Hernández González was sent to Kilo 5 1/2 Prison in western Pinar del Río Province, on the opposite end of the island.



Omar Ruiz Hernández
, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Ruiz Hernández, a journalist with the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro in central Villa Clara Province, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Villa Clara Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Boniato Prison in eastern Santiago de Cuba Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



Oscar Espinosa Chepe
, freelance

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Espinosa Chepe, a Havana-based independent freelance journalist, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State"; and under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Guantánamo Provincial Prison in eastern Guantánamo Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.

The 62-year-old journalist suffers from several severe medical conditions, including cirrhosis, hepatitis, liver failure, and high blood pressure. According to his wife, independent journalist Miriam Leiva, while in prison, Espinosa Chepe has had blood in his stools, anemia, and parasites.

Due to his liver conditions--which Leiva says had been under control before his detention and imprisonment--and other ailments that have been exacerbated in jail, the journalist has been in and out of hospitals. In July, he was transferred to Boniato Prison, where, despite his poor health, he spent eight days in solitary confinement.

On August 7, Espinosa Chepe became ill and was taken to the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital in Havana, where he remained at year's end.



Pablo Pacheco Ávila
, Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Pacheco Ávila, a journalist with the independent news agency Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts "aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system." On April 7, the Ciego de Ávila Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the provincial headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Agüica Prison in western Matanzas Province, hundreds of miles from his home.



Raúl Rivero
, Cuba Press

Imprisoned: March 20, 2003

Rivero, a prominent independent journalist, writer, and director of the independent news agency Cuba Press, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Article 91 of the Penal Code, which imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against "the independence or the territorial integrity of the State." On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Canaleta Prison in central Ciego de Ávila Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People's Supreme Tribunal, Cuba's highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.



ERITREA: 17

Zemenfes Haile
, Tsigenay

Imprisoned: January 1999

Sometime in early 1999, Haile, founder and manager of the private weekly Tsigenay, was detained by Eritrean authorities and sent to Zara Labor Camp in the country's lowland desert. Authorities accused Haile of failing to complete the National Service Program, but sources told CPJ that the journalist completed the program in 1994.

Near the end of 2000, Haile was transferred to an unknown location, and friends and relatives have not seen or heard from him since. CPJ sources in Eritrea believe that Haile's continued detention is part of the government's general crackdown on the press, which began in September 2001.

According to Eritrean sources, in 2003, the government claimed that Haile was performing his national service requirement.



Ghebrehiwet Keleta, Tsigenay

Imprisoned: July 2000

Keleta, reporter for the private weekly Tsigenay, was kidnapped by security agents on his way to work sometime in July 2000 and has not been seen since. The reasons for Keleta's arrest remain unclear, but CPJ sources in Eritrea believe that Keleta's continued detention is part of the government's general crackdown on the press, which began in September 2001.



Selamyinghes Beyene
, Meqaleh

Imprisoned: Fall 2001

Beyene, reporter for the independent weekly Meqaleh, was arrested sometime in the fall of 2001 and has been missing since. CPJ was unable to confirm the reasons for his arrest, but Eritrean sources believe that his detention is part of the government's general crackdown on the press, which began in September 2001.

According to Eritrean sources, in 2003, the government claimed that Beyene was performing his national service requirement.



Amanuel Asrat, Zemen
Imprisoned: September 2001

Medhanie Haile, Keste Debena
Imprisoned: September 18, 2001

Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Tsigenay

Mattewos Habteab, Meqaleh
Imprisoned: September 19, 2001

Temesken Ghebreyesus, Keste Debena

Said Abdelkader, Admas
Imprisoned: September 20, 2001

Dawit Isaac, Setit

Seyoum Fsehaye, freelance
Imprisoned: September 21, 2001

Dawit Habtemichael, Meqaleh
Imprisoned: on or about September 21, 2001

Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, Setit
Imprisoned: September 27, 2001

Beginning September 18, 2001, Eritrean security forces arrested at least 10 local journalists. Two others fled the country. The arrests came less than a week after authorities abruptly closed all privately owned newspapers, allegedly to safeguard national unity in the face of growing political turmoil in the tiny Horn of Africa nation.

International news reports quoted presidential adviser Yemane Gebremeskel as saying that the journalists could have been arrested for avoiding military service. Sources in the capital, Asmara, however, say that at least two of the detained journalists, freelance photographer Fsehaye and Mohamed Ali, editor of Tsigenay, are legally exempt from national service. Fsehaye is reportedly exempt because he is an independence war veteran, while Mohamed Ali is apparently well over the maximum age for military service.

CPJ sources in Asmara maintain that the suspension and subsequent arrests of independent journalists were part of a full-scale government effort to suppress political dissent in advance of December 2001 elections, which the government canceled without explanation.

On March 31, 2002, the 10 jailed reporters began a hunger strike to protest their continued detention without charge, according to local and international sources. In a message smuggled from inside the Police Station One detention center in Asmara, the journalists said they would refuse food until they were either released or charged and given a fair trial. Three days later, nine of the strikers were transferred to an undisclosed detention facility. According to CPJ sources, the 10th journalist, Swedish national Isaac, was sent to a hospital, where he was treated for posttraumatic stress disorder, a result of alleged torture while in police custody.

During a July 2002 fact-finding mission to Asmara, a presidential official told a CPJ delegation that only "about eight" news professionals were being held in detention facilities, whose locations he refused to disclose.



Hamid Mohammed Said, Eritrean State Television

Saidia Ahmed, Eritrean State Television

Saleh Aljezeeri, Eritrean State Radio

Imprisoned: February 15, 2002

During a July 2002 fact-finding mission to the capital, Asmara, CPJ delegates confirmed that around February 15, Eritrean authorities arrested Said, a journalist for the state-run Eritrean State Television (ETV); Ahmed, a journalist with the Arabic-language service of ETV; and Aljezeeri, a journalist for Eritrean State Radio. All three remained in government custody at the end of 2003.

The reasons for their arrests are unclear, but CPJ sources in Eritrea believe that their continued detention is related to the government's general crackdown on the press, which began in September 2001.



Aklilu Solomon
, Voice of America

Imprisoned: July 8, 2003

On June 27, Solomon, stringer for the U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA) news service based in the capital, Asmara, was stripped of his press accreditation by Eritrean authorities after he reported on the families of soldiers who had died during Eritrea's 1998-2000 war with Ethiopia. Solomon's report that the families were anguished over the soldiers' deaths contradicted state media coverage, which claimed that the families had celebrated when the government publicly announced their relatives' deaths, according to the VOA. Authorities said that Solomon's reporting was biased and designed to "please the enemy."

On July 8, Eritrean security officers arrested Solomon at his home and took him away to an undisclosed location. Government officials later said that Solomon had been taken to Sawa Military Training Camp to complete his mandatory national military service. According to the VOA, however, Solomon had documents proving that he had already completed a part of his service and was exempt from the rest for medical reasons. Eritrean authorities told the VOA that they were reviewing the documents in question.

Sources in Asmara told the VOA that Eritrean police returned to Solomon's home shortly after his arrest, cut his phone line, and confiscated his tape recorder and tapes.



ETHIOPIA: 1

Tewodros Kassa
, Ethiop

Imprisoned: mid-May 2002

On July 7, 2002, Kassa, former editor-in-chief of the Amharic-language weekly Ethiop, was sentenced to two years in prison on two counts of violating Ethiopia's restrictive Press Proclamation No. 34 of 1992 in three articles published in Ethiop in 1997. At the time of his conviction, Kassa had already been in jail since mid-May 2002 for missing a court hearing related to the charges.

The first charge, "disseminating false information that could incite people to political violence," stemmed from two stories. The first reported that the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) had fired personnel at the Debre Zeit air force base who previously worked for the former regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam and replaced them with pro-EPRDF workers; the second article alleged that unidentified individuals had failed in an attempt to bomb a popular hotel in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The second charge, "defamation," resulted from another 1997 article in Ethiop,which alleged that a private investment company specializing in natural-resource development had connections in the EPRDF government. Accord-ing to a source at Ethiop, Kassa was charged even after the newspaper complied with a government order forcing the publication to print a letter of apology.



IRAN: 3

Akbar Ganji
, Sobh-e-Emrooz, Fath

Imprisoned: April 22, 2000

Ganji, a leading investigative reporter for the now defunct reformist daily Sobh-eEmrooz and a member of the editorial board of the now defunct, pro-reform daily Fath, was arrested and prosecuted in both Iran's Press Court and Revolutionary Court.

The case in the Press Court stemmed from Ganji's investigative articles about the 1998 killings of several dissidents and intellectuals that implicated top intelligence officials and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. In the Revolutionary Court, Ganji was accused of making propaganda against the Islamic regime and threatening national security in comments he made at an April 2000 conference in Berlin on the future of the reform movement in Iran.

The status of the case in the Press Court remained unclear at the end of 2003, but on January 13, 2001, the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ganji to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of internal exile. In May 2001, after Ganji had already served more than a year in prison, an appellate court reduced his punishment to six months.

The Iranian Justice Department then appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, arguing that the appellate court had committed errors in commuting the original 10-year sentence. The Supreme Court overturned the appellate court's decision and referred the case to a different appeals court. On July 16, 2001, that court sentenced Ganji to six years in jail. According to the state news agency IRNA, the ruling was "definitive," meaning that it cannot be appealed.



Iraj Jamshidi, Asia

Imprisoned: July 6, 2003

Jamshidi, editor of the economic daily Asia, was arrested by Iranian authorities, who also closed his newspaper. Both actions occurred after Jamshidi's newspaper published a photograph of Maryam Rajavi, leader of the opposition group People's Mujahadeen. Iranian authorities have released no details as to why they are detaining him, and it is unclear whether any formal charges have been levied against Jamshidi, who remained in prison at year's end.



Alireza Ahmadi
, Asia

Imprisoned: July 2003

Ahmadi, an editor with the economic daily Asia, was arrested by Iranian authorities in July, sometime after his Asia colleague Iraj Jamshidi was detained on July 6. The arrests occurred after Asia published a photograph of Maryam Rajavi, leader of the opposition group People's Mujahadeen. The U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported in December that the journalist was held in solitary confinement and quoted the journalist's sister as saying she believed that her brother was jailed for articles he wrote about corruption in the Tehran Stock Exchange. Iranian authorities have not yet released details as to why they detained Ahmadi, and it is unclear whether any formal charges have been made against him.

On January 8, 2004, the journalist was released. Attempts by CPJ to contact Ahmadi after his release were unsuccessful.



KAZAKHSTAN: 1

Sergei Duvanov
, Prava Cheloveka v Kazakhstane i Mire

Imprisoned: October 27, 2002

Duvanov, a prominent 49-year-old journalist known for his criticism of Kazakh authorities, was arrested on suspicion of raping a minor. The journalist was officially charged on November 6, 2002.

Duvanov denied the rape accusation, saying it was a government effort to discredit him. The charges came just as Duvanov was preparing to leave for the United States, where he was scheduled to give a series of talks at Washington, D.C.- and New York-based think tanks about political conditions in Kazakhstan.

Shortly after his arrest, Duvanov went on a hunger strike to protest his detention. He ended the strike after 13 days, when prison authorities began to force-feed him. His trial, which began on December 24, 2002, ended on January 28, 2003. Duvanov was convicted and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Duvanov's defense team appealed the conviction, but the appeal was rejected by the Almaty Regional Court in March 2003, and by the Supreme Court in November 2003.

Duvanov, who wrote for opposition-financed Web sites and was the editor-in-chief of a bulletin published by the Almaty-based Kazakhstan Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, is known for his biting criticism of Kazakhstan's political system and high-level officials, including Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Authorities have frequently harassed him in reprisal for his work.

On the evening of August 28, 2002, three unknown assailants beat and stabbed Duvanov in the stairwell of his apartment building, saying of his work, "If you carry on, you'll be made a total cripple."

On July 9, 2002, the General Prosecutor's Office charged him with "infringing the honor and dignity of the president"--a criminal offense punishable by a fine or a maximum three-year prison sentence--after he accused President Nazarbayev of corruption in an article. Authorities later dropped that criminal case against him without any explanation.

On December 29, 2003, the Kapchagay District Court ruled that Duvanov could serve the rest of his term in a low-security labor camp and would be transferred to the facility in January 2004.



KUWAIT: 2

Ibtisam Berto Sulaiman al-Dakhil
, Al-Nida'

Fawwaz Muhammad al-Awadi Bessisso, Al-Nida'

Imprisoned: June 1991

Bessisso and al-Dakhil were sentenced to life in prison for their work with Al-Nida', a newspaper that Iraqi authorities launched during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in 1990. At the end of 2002, they were the last remaining imprisoned journalists in Kuwait, which jailed 17 reporters and editors for their work with Al-Nida' following the Gulf War, charging them with collaboration.

The two jailed journalists were reportedly tortured during their interrogations. Their trial, which began on May 19, 1991, in a martial-law court, failed to meet international standards of justice. In particular, prosecutors failed to refute the journalists' defense that they had been forced to work for the Iraqi newspaper.

On June 16, 1991, the journalists were sentenced to death. Ten days later, following international protests, all martial-law death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. The other 15 journalists were freed gradually starting in 1996, most on the occasion of Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah's annual prisoner amnesties in February.

In 2002, the emir pardoned Bessisso and al-Dakhil. But because Bessisso is not a citizen of any country, no nation is willing to accept him as a refugee. Al-Dakhil, a naturalized Kuwaiti citizen from Iraq, lost her citizenship as a result of her conviction and is also awaiting deportation. Both are currently being held in Kuwaiti jails while they try to find countries of residence.

MALDIVES

Mohamed Zaki
, Sandhaanu
Imprisoned: January 30, 2002

Ahmed Didi, Sandhaanu
Imprisoned: February 5, 2002

Zaki, Ibrahim Luthfee, and Didi, businessmen who founded, edited, and wrote for the Dhivehi-language Internet publication Sandhaanu, were arrested along with their secretary Fathimath Nisreen. Luthfee, Nisreen, and Zaki were arrested in the capital, Malé. On February 5, Sri Lankan authorities arrested Didi in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for alleged travel document violations while he was en route to Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart condition. According to Luthfee, Sri Lankan authorities deported Didi to the Maldives, where he was promptly arrested. Zaki, a native of Mali who lives in Malaysia, was visiting the Maldives from Malaysia at the time of his arrest.

All four were held in solitary confinement for five months until their sentencing on July 7, 2002. After a summary three-day trial, they were convicted of defamation, incitement to violence, and treason. Didi, Luthfee, and Zaki were sentenced to life imprisonment and one year of banishment for defamation, and Nisreen received a 10-year prison sentence, with a one-year banishment for defamation. The four were sent to Maafushi Prison, which is known for its harsh conditions, 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Malé.

Before Sandhaanu was effectively closed in early 2002, the Web site attracted a large audience by local standards, according to Luthfee. Started in August 2001, the independent publication criticized the government for alleged abuse of power and corruption and called for political reform. There is no independent press in the Maldives. Television and radio are state-run, and the country's three newspapers are under government control.

Although the Maldivian government claims that the four received a fair trial, Luthfee told CPJ that their request for legal representation at the time of the trial was denied.

A Maldives government representative in London sent a statement to the BBC in 2003 claiming that the charges against Didi, Luthfee, Nisreen, and Zaki were "purely criminal" because their publication was not officially registered, and that the four were convicted of inciting people "to violence...against a lawfully elected government."

Luthfee disagreed and told CPJ that the case against them was politically motivated, and that it was intended as a warning to others who criticize the government. Since the media are fully controlled by the Maldivian government, Luthfee says it is impossible to view opinions or write anything critical about the government in the official press. Therefore, Didi, Luthfee, and Zaki decided to launch their independent publication online from Malaysia, where Zaki emigrated from Mali in 1990. Because they were concerned about government surveillance inside the Maldives, Didi and Luftee sent the text of Sandhaanu to Zaki in Malaysia in PDF files to upload and distribute from there.

On May 19, 2003, Luthfee escaped from custody while receiving medical treatment in Sri Lanka and has since received asylum outside the region. It has been reported that conditions for the three remaining people worsened after Luthfee's escape, and that Didi and Zaki were again placed in solitary confinement.

In the wake of prison riots in September 2003, Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom pledged to reform his county's prison system. In mid-December 2003, Zaki and Didi's prison sentences were reduced to 15 years, and Nisreen's sentence was halved to five years. She was released from prison but banished to Feeali Island, south of Malé, on December 13, 2003.

Since March 2003, Didi has been hospitalized because of his deteriorating heart condition, according to Luthfee. Doctors have asked for his early release because he needs bypass surgery.

Zaki was allowed to go home on medical leave for two weeks in May for treatment of kidney stones, back pain, and prostate problems.
s

MOROCCO: 2

Ali Lmrabet
, Demain, Douman

Imprisoned: May 21, 2003

Lmrabet, the owner and editor of two weeklies, the French-language Demain and its Arabic-language sister publication, Douman, was jailed on May 21 after a court in the capital, Rabat, convicted him of "insulting the king," "undermining the monarchy," and "challenging the territorial integrity of the state." He was sentenced to four years in prison (later reduced on appeal to three years) and fined 20,000 Moroccan dirhams (US$2,000). The court also ordered the two weeklies closed.

Lmrabet's conviction stemmed from articles and cartoons published in the two magazines, including an interview with Abdullah Zaazaa, an opponent of Morocco's monarchy who called for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara; a satirical photomontage that included a photo from King Mohammed VI's wedding; an article about the royal court's finances; and a cartoon that criticized public displays of reverence to the monarchy.

Lmrabet was released in early January 2004 after King Mohammed VI pardoned him and several dozen other prisoners.



Mohammed al-Herd
, Al-Sharq

Imprisoned: June 12, 2003

Al-Herd, editor of the Oujda-based weekly newspaper Al-Sharq, was detained on June 12 along with two other journalists--Al-Sharq Editor Abdel Majid Ben Taher and Mustapha Qashnini, editor of the Oujda-based weekly Al-Hayat Al-Maghribiya--under Morocco's new antiterrorism law and later charged with "extolling the actions that comprise terrorism." Ben Taher and Qashnini were released in July, but al-Herd remained in jail at year's end.

The charges against all three men stemmed from an article published in the May 5-20 edition of the weekly Al-Hayat Al-Maghribiya by an Islamist activist that was reprinted on June 5 in Al-Sharq. In the article, the author discussed the history of the Islamist movement in Morocco and its alleged relationship with the country's intelligence services. The article criticized the Moroccan intelligence services for doing the "dirty work" of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

On August 4, al-Herd, Ben Taher, and Qashnini were convicted. Al-Herd was sentenced to three years in prison, while Ben Taher and Qashnini were each sentenced to a year in prison. Ben Taher and Qashnini remained free pending appeal, while al-Herd began serving his sentence immediately. The court also suspended both weeklies for three months.

Al-Herd was freed in early January 2004 after King Mohammed VI pardoned him and several dozen other prisoners. The cases against Ben Taher and Qashnini were also dropped under the pardon.



NEPAL: 3

Krishna Sen
, Janadisha

Imprisoned: May 20, 2002

Sen, the editor of Janadisha, a publication closely associated with the Maoist rebels, was arrested by police under the provisions of a sweeping antiterrorism ordinance introduced in November 2001 that criminalized any contact with or support for Maoist rebels.

The journalist's arrest was widely reported in the local press. However, after news reports emerged in late June 2002 that Sen may have been killed while in police custody, a government-appointed commission said it found no evidence that he had ever been detained. Officials have since denied responsibility for Sen's disappearance.

Because Sen's body has not been recovered and no credible investigation has been undertaken to determine his status, CPJ holds the government accountable for his fate.



Dhana Bahadur Magar
, Federation of Nepalese Journalists

Imprisoned: November 18, 2003

Bhai Kaji Ghimire, Samadristi

Imprisoned: December 3, 2003

Magar, a central council member of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) and secretary of the FNJ's Kathmandu office, was last seen running an errand in the afternoon of November 18, according to the FNJ. Local press freedom groups suspect that security forces took Magar into custody.

Security forces also detained Ghimire, managing director of the monthly Samadristi, while he was on his way to work on his motorcycle, according to the Kathmandu-based Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies, a press freedom group. His whereabouts are unknown.

In the wake of the government's August 27 broken cease-fire agreement with Maoist rebels, many journalists were targeted and detained by security forces. While the majority of journalists were held briefly and then released, Magar and Ghimire were still being detained at undisclosed locations at year's end. No known charges have been filed against them.



NIGER: 1

Maman Abou
, Le Républicain

Imprisoned: November 5, 2003

Police officers arrested Abou, director of the private weekly newspaper Le Républicain, at the newspaper's offices in the capital, Niamey. He was transferred to Central Prison in Niamey the same day.

On November 7, Abou was sentenced to six months in prison for criminal defamation at a closed, secret trial. Neither Abou nor his lawyers were present at the trial, according to Abou's colleagues. The journalist was also ordered to pay two fines, one of 300,000 CFA francs (US$530), and another of 10 million CFA francs (US$17,560).

The sentence stemmed from a July article in Le Républicain thataccused several government ministers of using unauthorized treasury funds to pay for government contracts. The article alleged that several contracts had been awarded to government supporters without allowing competitive bidding, according to Le Républicain staff. The newspaper also published several documents, allegedly from the Public Treasury, along with the article. Following the article's publication, Prime Minister Hama Amadou announced on state television that he would pursue defamation charges against Le Républicain, according to local journalists.

After the sentence was delivered, Abou was transferred from Central Prison in Niamey to a prison in the town of Say, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south.

On December 23, after the defamation charge against Abou had been appealed, Niamey's Correctional Court amended the journalist's sentence, changing it from six months in prison to a suspended sentence of four months. The fines were also reduced to 100,000 (US$190) and 2 million CFA francs (US$3,780), respectively.

However, Abou was kept in prison under so-called preventive detention on a second charge of complicity in stealing and possessing confidential government documents. The possession charge falls under the country's criminal code and can carry a sentence of several years in prison, according to local journalists.

On January 6, 2004, an appeals court granted Abou a provisional release, and he was freed from jail. His lawyer said he could soon be summoned for hearings on the possession charges.



PAKISTAN: 4

Munawar Mohsin
, The Frontier Post

Imprisoned: January 29, 2001

Police in Peshawar arrested Mohsin and four colleagues from The Frontier Post after the newspaper published a letter to the editor titled "Why Muslims Hate Jews," which included derogatory references to the Prophet Mohammed.

Although the newspaper's senior management claimed that the letter was inserted into the copy by mistake and apologized for failing to stop its publication, district officials responded to complaints from local religious leaders by closing the paper and ordering the immediate arrest of seven staff members on blasphemy charges. In Pakistan, anyone accused of blasphemy is subject to immediate arrest without due process; those convicted may be sentenced to death.

On July 8, 2003, a court in Northwest Frontier Province convicted Mohsin of blasphemy and sentenced him to life in prison. The court's ruling said that Mohsin had "intentionally and willfully committed an offense."

Mohsin is the only journalist from The Frontier Post who remains in prison. (Two of the journalists charged in the case immediately went into hiding and were never arrested. The other four were eventually released on bail.) Mohsin, who was working as the newspaper's subeditor, admitted responsibility for publishing the letter, which he says he had not read carefully. He told The New York Times that he "could never think of abusing our Holy Prophet" but confessed that, having recently completed a drug rehabilitation program, his mind may have been slightly addled. Mohsin is imprisoned in Peshawar Central Jail.



Marc Epstein
, L'Express

Jean-Paul Guilloteau, L'Express

Khawar Mehdi Rizvi, freelance

Imprisoned: December 16, 2003

Officers from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Epstein and Guilloteau, a reporter and a photographer, respectively, for the French newsmagazine L'Express, at their hotel in Karachi and charged them with visa violations under Pakistan's Foreigners Act for traveling to the southwestern city of Quetta without permission. The French journalists went there in December 2003 with Rizvi, a freelance journalist who was working as their guide, to research a story about Taliban activity in the western area of Pakistan that borders the country of Afghanistan.

Epstein and Guilloteau only had visas to travel to Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, and authorities threatened that they would also be charged with taking pictures of "prohibited areas." Pakistan's government began limiting foreigners' access to the western areas of Quetta and Peshawar in 2002, after skirmishes started along the Afghan border, according to international news reports.

The French journalists were released from Karachi Central Prison on December 24, but their passports were confiscated, and they remained under house arrest at year's end while awaiting a verdict in their case.

On January 10, 2004, Epstein and Guilloteau pleaded guilty to the charges of visa violations and received six-month prison sentences. The judge in the case, Nuzhat Ara Hakvi, suspended the sentence for one week and ordered the journalists to pay a fine of 200,000 rupees (US$3,500) each, according to their lawyer, Nafees Siddique. On appeal on January 12, 2004, the two journalists' sentences were waived, and they were allowed to return to France.

Pakistani authorities initially denied that they were holding Rizvi, a reporter with 10 years' experience working for local newspapers and international media outlets, but local journalists and press freedom groups were confident that Rizvi was in government custody because he disappeared on the same day the French journalists were arrested. Footage and interviews of the journalist in custody were shown several times on the state-owned channel PTV.

Rizvi's family filed a motion of habeas corpus on December 30, 2003, at the Sindh High Court in an attempt to free him, but in court FIA officials denied arresting or detaining the journalist.

In an interview with The New York Times on January 11, 2004, however, Interior Ministry spokesman Abdur Rauf Chaudry confirmed that security agencies were holding Rizvi, and that he was being interrogated. Chaudry also said that Rizvi would only be allowed to appear in court "when it is essential" and refused to say which security agencies were interrogating Rizvi because it would be "premature."



TUNISIA: 2

Hamadi Jebali
, Al-Fajr

Imprisoned: January 1991

On August 28, 1992, a military court sentenced Jebali, editor of Al-Fajr, the now defunct weekly newspaper of the banned Islamic Al-Nahda Party, to 16 years in prison. He was tried along with 279 other individuals accused of belonging to Al-Nahda. Jebali was convicted of "aggression with the intention of changing the nature of the state" and "membership in an illegal organization."

During his testimony, Jebali denied the charges and presented evidence that he had been tortured while in custody. Jebali has been imprisoned since January 1991, when he was sentenced to one year in prison after Al-Fajr published an article calling for the abolition of military courts in Tunisia. International human rights groups monitoring the mass trial con-cluded that the proceedings fell far below international standards of justice.



Abdullah Zouari
, Al-Fajr

Imprisoned: August 17, 2003

Zouari, a journalist with the now defunct weekly Al-Fajr of the banned Islamic Al-Nahda Party, was sentenced on October 8 to 13 months in prison on two charges: violating administrative controls enacted after his release from a previous prison sentence and defamation. CPJ views his current jailing as a part of a pattern of harassment against the journalist, who was released from prison in 2002 after spending 11 years behind bars for belonging to the Al-Nahda Party.

On August 17, 2003, authorities detained Zouari in Ben Guerdane, a market town near Zarzis in southern Tunisia, after he met with a group of local and international human rights activists.

In October, a court ruled that Zouari had violated administrative controls barring him from leaving Zarzis, although the charge is widely viewed as a pretext to harass the journalist, according to Tunisian human rights activists.

During the October court proceedings, the court also convicted Zouari of defamation. An employee of a cybercafé sued Zouari for defaming her during an argument in April when she barred Zouari--apparently under pressure from Tunisian officials, according to the journalist's colleagues--from accessing the Internet.

Previously, on August 28, 1992, a military court sentenced Zouari to 11 years in prison. He was tried along with 279 other individuals accused of belonging to Al-Nahda. International human rights groups monitoring the trial concluded that it fell far below international standards of justice.

TURKEY: 5

Burhan Gardas,
Mucadele

Imprisoned: March 23, 1995

Gardas, the Ankara bureau chief for the now banned weekly socialist magazine Mucadele, was prosecuted several times beginning in 1994. Court records state that Gardas was arrested on January 12, 1994, at his office and charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code. During a search of the premises, police reportedly found four copies of "news bulletins" of the outlawed organization Devrimci Sol (also known as Dev Sol).

During the trial, the prosecution claimed that police also found banners with left-wing slogans, along with photographs of Devrimci Sol militants who had been killed in clashes with government security forces. The prosecution also claimed that Gardas shouted antistate slogans during his arrest, and that he was using Mucadele's office for Devrimci Sol activities.

Gardas denied all the charges. His attorney argued that the illegal publications were part of the magazine's archive, and that Gardas had been tortured in prison, submitting a medical report to prove the allegation. On May 14, 1994, Gardas was released pending his trial's outcome.

While awaiting the verdict in the 1994 prosecution, Gardas was arrested on March 23, 1995, when police raided the office of the successor to Mucadele, the weekly socialist magazine Kurtulus, for which he was also the Ankara bureau chief. Officials said he had violated Article 168/2 of the Penal Code because of his alleged membership in Dev Sol. During the raid, police seized three copies of Kurtulus "news bulletins" and six Kurtulus articles discussing illegal rallies.

Court documents from his second trial, which was held at the Number 2 State Security Court of Ankara, reveal that the prosecution's evidence against Gardas consisted of his refusal to talk during a police interrogation--allegedly a Devrimci Sol policy--and his possession of publications that the prosecution contended were the mouthpieces of outlawed organizations. In addition, Ali Han, an employee at the Ankara bureau of Kurtulus, testified that Gardas was a Devrimci Sol member. Gardas denied the claim, and his lawyer argued that the journalist client had the constitutional right to remain silent during police interrogations.

On July 4, 1995, the Number 1 State Security Court of Ankara sentenced Gardas to 15 years in prison on the 1994 charge. In 1996, he was convicted and sentenced to an additional 15 years for the second set of charges.



Erdal Dogan
, Alinteri

Imprisoned: July 10, 1995

Dogan, an Ankara reporter for the now banned socialist weekly Alinteri, was arrested and later charged under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for allegedly belonging to the outlawed Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TIKB).

According to the trial transcript, the prosecution argued that the TIKB published Alinteri. The case against Dogan was based on the following evidence:

(1) a photograph of Dogan, taken at a 1992 May Day parade, allegedly showing him standing underneath a United Revolutionary Trade Union banner;

(2) a photograph of Dogan taken on the anniversary of a TIKB militant's death;

(3) a photograph allegedly showing Dogan attending an illegal demonstration in the capital, Ankara;

(4) a statement of an alleged member of the TIKB who claimed that Dogan belonged to the organization.

The defense argued that the incriminating statement was invalid because it had been extracted under torture. Dogan's lawyer told CPJ that the photograph from the militant's memorial was blurry, and Dogan testified in court that he had attended the May Day parade in his capacity as a journalist. He was convicted, sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison, and jailed in Bursa Prison.



Sadik Celik
, Kurtulus

Imprisoned: December 23, 1995

Celik, Zonguldak bureau chief for the now banned leftist weekly Kurtulus, was detained and charged with violating Article 168/2 of the Penal Code for allegedly belonging to the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

The prosecution claimed that the DHKP-C published Kurtulus, and that Celik's position with the magazine proved he was a member of the group. Celik was accused of conducting "seminars" for the DHKP-C at the magazine's office, propagandizing for the organization, transporting copies of the magazine from Istanbul to Zonguldak by bus, and organizing the magazine's distribution in Zonguldak. The prosecution also stated that Celik's name appeared in a document written by a DHKP-C leader. (It is not clear whether the document was introduced as material evidence.)

The prosecution claimed that Celik's refusal to speak while in police custody proved his guilt. The defense argued that the prosecution could not substantiate any of its claims. Celik acknowledged having distributed the magazine in his capacity as Kurtulus' bureau chief. He said that he had held meetings in the office to discuss the magazine's affairs. The defense presented the statements of two Kurtulus reporters to corroborate Celik's statements. On October 17, 1996, Celik was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison.



Memik Horuz
, Ozgur Gelecek, Isci Koylu

Imprisoned: June 18, 2001

Horuz, editor of the leftist publications Ozgur Gelecek and Isci Koylu, was arrested and later charged with "membership in an illegal organization," a crime under Article 168/2 of the Penal Code. Prosecutors based the case against Horuz on interviews he had allegedly conducted with leftist guerrillas in Topcam, which Ozgur Gelecek later published in 2000 and 2001. The state also based its case on the testimony of an alleged former militant who claimed that the journalist belonged to the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. Horuz was convicted on June 18, 2002, and sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison.



Sinan Kara
, Datca Haber

Imprisoned: October 27, 2003

Kara, publisher of the weekly Datca Haber in the southwestern town of Datcha, began serving a one-year prison term for allegedly threatening the bodyguards of Mert Ciller, son of former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. According to Kara's lawyer, the bodyguards attacked the journalist when he tried to photograph Mert Ciller in 2000. But after Kara filed a complaint with the police, the bodyguards claimed that Kara had threatened them and later sued the journalist. Kara's lawyer maintains that the charge against his client was fabricated, and that the witnesses produced by Mert Ciller's entourage provided dubious testimony. Kara is in Ula Prison.

Local politicians and businessmen have targeted Kara with several lawsuits for his reporting on local government, according to Turkish media reports. Officials have frequently harassed the journalist through petty administrative measures. In 2002, for example, Kara served jail time for failing to comply with a press law requiring newspaper publishers to send two copies of each issue to the governor's office.



UZBEKISTAN: 5

Muhammad Bekjanov
, Erk

Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Erk

Imprisoned: March 15, 1999

Bekjanov, editor of Erk, a newspaper published by the banned opposition Erk party, and Ruzimuradov, an employee of the paper, were sentenced to 14 years and 15 years in prison, respectively, at an August 1999 trial in the capital, Tashkent.

They were convicted for publishing and distributing a banned newspaper containing slanderous criticism of President Islam Karimov, participating in a banned political protest, and attempting to overthrow the regime. In addition, the court found them guilty of illegally leaving the country and damaging their Uzbek passports.

Both men were tortured during their six-month pretrial detention in the Tashkent City Prison. Their health has deteriorated as a result of prison conditions.

According to human rights activists in Tashkent, Bekjanov was transferred on November 27, 1999, to "strict-regime" Penal Colony 64/46 in the city of Navoi in central Uzbekistan. He has lost considerable weight and, like many prisoners in Uzbek camps, suffers from malnutrition. Local sources have informed CPJ that Ruzimuradov is being held in "strict-regime" Penal Colony 64/33 in the village of Shakhali near the town of Karshi.

In May 2003, the 49-year-old Bekjanov was interviewed for the first time since his imprisonment by a local correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and a local stringer for The Associated Press (AP). The interview took place in the Tashkent Prison Hospital, where he was being treated for tuberculosis, which he contracted while in detention.

Bekjanov described daily torture and beatings that resulted in a broken leg and loss of hearing in his right ear, according to IWPR. The journalist and opposition activist said he intends to resume his political activities after he is released from prison in 2012. "I will do what I used to do," Bekjanov told the AP.



Madzhid Abduraimov, Yangi Asr

Imprisoned: August 1, 2001

Abduraimov, a correspondent with the national weekly Yangi Asr, was convicted of extortion and sentenced to 13 years in prison. In a January 15, 2001, article in Yangi Asr, Abduraimov charged that Nusrat Radzhabov, head of the Boysunsky District grain production company Zagotzerno, had misappropriated state funds and falsified documents. Abduraimov also accused the businessman of killing a 12-year-old in a car accident and alleged that Radzhabov's teenage son was part of a group that had beaten and raped a 13-year-old boy.

Radzhabov claims that Abduraimov asked him for money and threatened to publish more accusations unless he was paid. According to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Radzhabov tried to sue Abduraimov for slander but dropped the suit after a local prosecutor's investigation confirmed the facts in the article.

Authorities arrested Abduraimov and accused him of receiving a US$6,000 bribe. He and a witness quoted by the IWPR claimed that a man threw the money into the back seat of his car immediately before police stopped his vehicle, searched it, and arrested him.

Abduraimov was held in Termez Regional Police Department jail until his trial began in Termez City Court on July 4, 2001.

According to Abduraimov, the court proceedings were influenced by local officials who objected to his reporting on corruption in the oil business. His request for a change of venue was not granted. He refused to attend the hearings and was sentenced in absentia.

Abduraimov is known for his investigative reporting and critical stance toward local law enforcement bodies and authorities. The journalist and his family have been persecuted for several years with threatening phone calls, while his son was reportedly beaten by police and sentenced to four months in jail for disorderly conduct. Supporters say Abduraimov was most likely framed, and it is not known where he is being held.



Gayrat Mehliboyev
, freelance

Imprisoned: July 24, 2002

Mehliboyev was arrested at a bazaar in the capital, Tashkent, for allegedly participating in an antigovernment rally protesting the imprisonment of members of the banned Islamist opposition party Hizb ut-Tahrir. When police searched Mehliboyev's bed in a local hostel, they allegedly found banned religious literature that prosecutors later characterized as extremist in nature, according to international press reports.

Mehliboyev, who was unemployed at the time, admitted in court that he had studied the ideas of Hizb ut-Tahrir but denied possessing the religious material police allegedly found in the hostel where he was staying.

He had written several articles on religious issues for the government-funded Tashkent newspapers Hurriyat and Mohiyyat during 2001 and graduated from the journalism faculty at Tashkent State University in 2002, according to local press reports.

Mehliboyev was held in pretrial detention for more than six months. His trial began on February 5, 2003, at the Shaikhantaur Regional Court in Tashkent, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Prosecutors presented as evidence of Mehliboyev's alleged religious extremism a political commentary he had written for the April 11, 2001, edition of Hurriyat.

The article questioned whether Western democracy should be a model for Uzbekistan and said that religion was the true path to achieving social justice. Prosecutors claimed that the article contained ideas from Hizb ut-Tahrir.

A Tashkent-based representative of Human Rights Watch monitored the trial and told CPJ that several times during the proceedings, Mehliboyev said he was beaten in custody, but the court ignored his comments.

Mehliboyev's brother, Shavkat, also said the defendant, who was beaten and tortured in police custody, was forced to confess to having connections to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The Shaikhantaur Regional Court sentenced the 23-year-old Mehliboyev to seven years in prison on February 18, 2003, after convicting him of anticonstitutional activities, participating in extremist religious organizations, and inciting religious hatred, according to local and international press reports.



Ruslan Sharipov
, Union of Independent Journalists of Uzbekistan

Imprisoned: May 26, 2003

Police arrested Sharipov, 25, on May 26 in the capital, Tashkent, and charged him with sodomy, having sexual relations with minors, and managing prostitutes, according to local and international press reports.

Sharipov, who is openly gay, denied the charges, saying that authorities had threatened him with torture to get a confession. According to a report by the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, who visited Uzbekistan in 2002 to inspect several prisons, physical abuse of prisoners is a "systematic" problem in the country. Furthermore, international human rights organizations report that Uzbek authorities commonly use fabricated criminal charges to silence government critics.

Police and the security service have threatened and harassed Sharipov for several years because of critical articles he has written for the Russian news agency Prima and for the Union of Independent Journalists of Uzbekistan's Web site (www.uiju.org) describing police abuses and press freedom violations. Many of Sharipov's articles were published on the Internet in English, making them far more accessible to an international audience than articles written by other Uzbek journalists and human rights activists.

Two of Sharipov's colleagues, Oleg Sarapulov and Azamat Mumankulov, who were arrested with him but were later released, told human rights activists that authorities had intimidated them in an effort to force them to testify against Sharipov, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

While homosexuality remains a criminal offense and gays face regular police harassment in Uzbekistan, prosecution of such cases is rare. As a result, local journalists and human rights activists suspect that the charges against Sharipov were an effort to silence his criticism of authorities.

Numerous irregularities have been reported in Sharipov's trial, which began on July 23, 2003, behind closed doors at the Mirzo-Ulugbek District Court in Tashkent, according to local and international press reports.

Judge Ganisher Makhmudov ruled that the trial would be closed to the public to protect the privacy of minors who were allegedly victims in the case. Human rights advocates, however, believe that the trial was closed to prevent public scrutiny of the case.

Sharipov's lawyers argued that their client could not receive a fair trial because he had criticized the Mirzo-Ulugbek District Court and police in previous articles. Judge Makhmudov rejected the lawyers' request to have the trial moved to a different court in Tashkent.

On August 8, 2003, the trial took a bizarre turn when Sharipov reportedly pleaded guilty to sodomy, waived his right to legal counsel, and expressed his readiness to apologize for criticizing President Islam Karimov and other Uzbek authorities in his articles, according to a member of Sharipov's defense team. On August 13, the Mirzo-Ulugbek District Court convicted Sharipov on all three charges and sentenced him to five-and-a-half years in prison.

On September 5, 2003, Sharipov issued a statement from prison saying that he pleaded guilty to sodomy in his August trial because officials had tortured him into confessing. His statement, which was addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was posted on the Web site of the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (www.cjes.ru) on September 9. A member of Sharipov's family confirmed to CPJ that the statement is authentic.

In the statement, Sharipov wrote, "I was tortured and pressured in ways I cannot describe with the aim of forcing me to confess and plead guilty at the trial for a crime I hadn't committed." He continued, "They put a gas mask on my head and sprayed an unknown substance into my throat. ... After that I could hardly breath, they injected an unknown substance into my veins and said they will inject me with the AIDs virus if I did not follow their instructions." Sharipov also wrote that before he pled guilty at his trial, he was forced to write a "death note" declaring he had "committed suicide of my own volition."

At a closed hearing on September 25, the City Court in Tashkent rejected an appeal by Sharipov to have his conviction and prison sentence overturned, according to local and international press reports. Instead, the court dropped one of the three charges against the journalist and reduced his prison sentence to four years.

A member of Sharipov's family told CPJ that Sharipov arrived at the court hearing with serious injuries to his eye and broken glasses, and that the police claimed that the injuries were from a car accident.

Surat Ikramov, a human rights activist on Sharipov's defense team, said that Sharipov was planning to appeal the case to a higher court, the AP reported. Sharipov is currently serving his sentence in Tavaksay Prison, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of Tashkent.

In his first interview since his conviction, Sharipov repeated to the AP that he had been coerced into confessing during his trial because of police torture. On December 22, Mikhail Gurevich, chief of staff of the country's prison system, announced that Sharipov would not be eligible for a wide-ranging presidential pardon scheduled to be carried out that month, the AP reported.



VIETNAM: 9

Ha Sy Phu
, freelance

Imprisoned: May 12, 2000

Nguyen Xuan Tu, a scientist and political essayist better known by his pen name, Ha Sy Phu, was placed under house arrest and charged with treason. The arrest came after an April 28, 2000, raid on Ha Sy Phu's home in Dalat, Lam Dong Province, during which police confiscated a computer, a printer, and several diskettes. They returned on May 12 with orders for his arrest signed by Col. Nguyen Van Do, police chief of Lam Dong Province.

Officials suspected that Ha Sy Phu had helped draft a pro-democracy declaration, according to CPJ sources, and his arrest followed the government's long-standing harassment of the writer. Ha Sy Phu was held under Administrative Detention Directive 31/CP, which allows the government to put individuals under house arrest for two years without due process, and was required to report daily to the Dalat police for interrogation.

In January 2002, police searched Ha Sy Phu's home and again confiscated his computer. The raid came during a period of escalating harassment of dissidents in Vietnam. Though the treason charge against Ha Sy Phu was withdrawn in January 2001, authorities renewed his administrative detention order for two years. Although the detention order expired in early 2003, officials refused to officially clarify if he was free from house arrest, so he remained under effective detention at the end of 2003, according to CPJ sources.



Tran Khue
, freelance

Imprisoned: October 9, 2001

On October 22, 2002, the Foreign Ministry announced that writer Tran Khue, also known as Tran Van Khue, had been placed under administrative detention, or house arrest, for two years, and that his term had begun on October 9, 2001. Administrative Detention Directive 31/CP allows the government to put individuals under house arrest for two years without due process.

In September 2001, Khue had been active in failed efforts to legally register the independent National Association to Fight Corruption. He had also established online publications, called Dialogue 2000 and Dialogue 2001, which included articles by himself and others advocating political reform. In January 2002, the Vietnamese government ordered local officials to confiscate and destroy all printed copies of the publications.

On March 8, 2002, seven police officers entered and searched Khue's home in Ho Chi Minh City and confiscated his computer equipment and several documents, according to CPJ sources. On March 10, Khue sent a message via cell phone to a friend indicating that he was in danger. Immediately after the message was sent, all means of communication with Khue were cut.

According to CPJ sources, police had searched Khue's house for materials relating to an open letter he sent to Chinese President Jiang Zemin during Jiang's visit to Vietnam in late February 2002. The letter, which was distributed over the Internet, protested recent border accords between the two countries.

On December 29, 2002, about 20 security officials came to Khue's house and detained him after he met with Hanoi-based democracy activist Pham Que Duong and his wife. The officers also confiscated his computer and computer disks. The day before, Duong was arrested at the Ho Chi Minh City train station while he was returning to Hanoi. A government official stated that the two men had been "caught red-handed while carrying out activities that seriously violate Vietnamese laws." She said that Khue and Duong will be tried but did not clarify on what charges or when the trial will take place.

Although Khue's administrative detention order expired in 2003, he remained in detention at year's end.



Nguyen Khac Toan
, freelance

Imprisoned January 8, 2002

Toan was arrested at an Internet café in the capital, Hanoi. He had reported on protests by disgruntled farmers, and then he transmitted his reports via the Internet to overseas pro-democracy groups. Authorities later charged him with espionage. On December 20, 2002, Toan was sentenced to 12 years in prison, one of the harshest sentences given to a Vietnamese democracy activist in recent years.

Toan, 47, served in the North Vietnamese army in the 1970s. After becoming active in Vietnam's pro-democracy movement, he began to write articles using the pen name Veteran Tran Minh Tam.

During the National Assembly's December 2001 and January 2002 meeting, large numbers of peasants gathered in front of the meeting hall to demand compensation for land that the government had wrongfully confiscated from them during recent redevelopment efforts. Toan helped the protesters write their grievances to present to government officials. He also wrote several news reports about the demonstrations and sent the articles to overseas pro-democracy publications.

Toan's trial took less than one day, and his lawyer was not allowed to meet with him alone until the day before proceedings began. The day after Toan was sentenced, the official Vietnamese press carried reports stating that he had "slandered and denigrated executives of the party and the state by sending electronic letters and by providing information to certain exiled Vietnamese reactionaries in France." He is currently being held in B14 Prison, in Thanh Tri District, outside Hanoi.



Bui Minh Quoc
, freelance

Imprisoned January 14, 2002

Freelancer Bui Minh Quoc was charged with "possessing anti-government literature," including his own writings, and put under administrative detention, or house arrest, for two years in Dalat District. Administrative Detention Directive 31/CP allows the Vietnamese government to put individuals under house arrest for two years without due process. Prior to Quoc's arrest, he had conducted extensive research on Vietnam's territorial concessions to China, according to international news reports.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson told journalists that, "The competent authorities told me that Quoc had violated Vietnamese law and they will provide more specifics on his violations in the coming time." Quoc, a poet and journalist who was a North Vietnamese Radio correspondent during the Vietnam War, was also under house arrest between 1997 and 1999.

Le Chi Quang
, freelance

Imprisoned February 21, 2002

Le Chi Quang, 32, was detained at an Internet café in the capital, Hanoi. He had written and posted several articles online criticizing government policy. According to Vietnamese authorities, officials at a popular domestic Internet service provider notified the Public Security Bureau that Quang had used computers at a specific Internet café in Hanoi to communicate with "reactionaries" living abroad. Security officials then tracked him down at the café.

On September 24, 2002, the state prosecutor's office, known as the Supreme People's Organ of Control, issued a document outlining specific charges against Quang. The document cites several articles by Quang as evidence of his "anti-government" activities, including an essay titled "Beware of Imperialist China," which criticized land and sea border agreements between China and Vietnam; essays praising well-known dissidents Nguyen Thanh Giang and Vu Cao Quan; and an article about the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement.

On November 8, after a three-hour trial on national security charges, the Hanoi People's Court sentenced Le Chi Quang to four years in prison followed by three years of house arrest. Quang was charged under articles 88 and 92 of the Criminal Code, which ban the distribution of information that opposes the government. Quang's parents were the only observers allowed into the courtroom, and his lawyer was not allowed to present a defense before the court, according to CPJ sources. While the chief judge in the case told foreign reporters that Quang had pleaded guilty, CPJ sources said he admitted in court to having written the articles mentioned by the prosecution but denied committing any crime.

During Quang's trial, about 100 family members and supporters gathered outside the courthouse. In December 2002, he was transferred to Sao Do Prison in Phu Ly, south of Hanoi.



Pham Hong Son
, freelance

Imprisoned March 27, 2002

Son, a medical doctor, was arrested after he posted an essay online about democracy. Authorities also searched his home and confiscated his computer and several documents, according to the Democracy Club for Vietnam, an organization based in both California and Hanoi, Vietnam's capital.

Prior to his arrest, Son translated into Vietnamese and posted an essay titled "What Is Democracy?" (The article first appeared on the U.S. State Department's Web site.) Son had previously written several essays promoting democracy and human rights, all of which appeared on Vietnamese-language online forums.

After Son's arrest, the government issued a statement claiming that his work was "anti-state and anti-Vietnam Communist Party," according to international press reports.

On June 18, 2003, the Hanoi People's Court sentenced Son to 13 years in prison, plus an additional three years of administrative detention, or house arrest. The trial was closed to foreign diplomats and correspondents. Son's wife, Vu Thuy Ha, was also barred from the courtroom, except when she was called to testify.

In an appeal trial on August 26, 2003, the Hanoi Supreme Court reduced Son's sentence to five years. Son is still required to serve three years of house arrest upon release.

Nguyen Vu Binh
, freelance

Imprisoned September 25, 2002

Security officials searched Binh's home in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, before arresting him, said CPJ sources. Police did not disclose the reasons for the writer's arrest, although CPJ sources believe that his detention may be linked to an essay he wrote criticizing border agreements between China and Vietnam.

In a trial on December 31, 2003, the Hanoi People's Court sentenced Binh on espionage charges to seven years in prison, followed by three years of house arrest upon release. Binh's wife was the only family member allowed in the courtroom. Foreign diplomats and journalists were barred from the trial.

Following the proceedings, the official Vietnam News Agency reported that Binh was sentenced because he had "written and exchanged, with various opportunist elements in the country, information and materials that distorted the party and state policies." He was also accused of communicating with "reactionary" organizations abroad.

Binh is a former journalist who worked for almost 10 years at Tap Chi Cong San (Journal of Communism), an official publication of Vietnam's Communist Party. In January 2001, he left his position there after applying to form an independent opposition group called the Liberal Democratic Party.

Since then, Binh has written several articles calling for political reform and criticizing current government policy. In August 2002, he wrote an article titled, "Some Thoughts on the China-Vietnam Border Agreement," which was distributed online.

In late July 2002, Binh was briefly detained after submitting written testimony to a U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus briefing on freedom of expression in Vietnam. Authorities then required him to report to the local police station daily. He was also subjected to frequent, daylong interrogation sessions.

In 2002, Vietnamese authorities cracked down on critics of land and sea border agreements signed by China and Vietnam as part of a rapprochement following a 1979 war between the two countries. Several writers have criticized the government for agreeing to border concessions without consulting the Vietnamese people.



Pham Que Duong
, freelance

Imprisoned: December 28, 2002

Military historian Duong was arrested at a train station in Ho Chi Minh City while en route to his home in the capital, Hanoi, after meeting with writer Tran Khue. Khue, who has been under house arrest since October 2001, was detained on December 29, 2002, at his home in Ho Chi Minh City. A government official stated that the two men had been "caught red-handed while carrying out activities that seriously violate Vietnamese laws."

She said that Khue and Duong will be tried but did not clarify on what charges or when the trial will take place.

Duong and Khue had both signed a petition sent to the Vietnamese Parliament in August 2002 calling for democratic reforms. Prior to his arrest, Duong had written a number of articles calling for political reforms and support for human rights, according to CPJ sources.

Duong, a former colonel in the Vietnamese military, served as editor of Tap Chi Lich Su Quan Su (Military History Review) from 1982 to 1986. In 1990, he resigned from the Vietnamese Communist Party and began writing articles that criticized the current political system.

Duong was also involved in the failed attempt to launch an independent anti-corruption organization in 2001.

According to CPJ sources, Duong has been under tight surveillance in recent years because he became well known for his expressions of political dissent.

By year's end, Duong had not been tried and the government had not announced any formal charges against him.



Nguyen Dan Que
, freelance

Imprisoned March 17, 2003

On March 17, Que was arrested outside his home in Ho Chi Minh City. Police also confiscated several documents and a computer from his house. Que is being held at the Nguyen Van Cu detention center, according to CPJ sources.

On March 20, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced that, "Nguyen Dan Que was arrested red-handed while carrying out activities that violate Vietnamese law," according to international news reports. She added that Que will be tried but did not clarify when or on what charges.

On March 13, Que issued a statement, titled, "Communiqué on Freedom of Information in Vietnam," in which he criticized the Vietnamese government's refusal to implement political reforms and lift controls on the media. Que wrote that, "The state hopes to cling to power by brainwashing the Vietnamese people through stringent censorship and through its absolutist control over what information the public can receive."

Que's statement also declared support for a bill submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on February 27, 2003, the Freedom of Information in Vietnam Act of 2003. The bill would support enhanced broadcasts from the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia into Vietnam and would allow the United States to counter Vietnamese government blocks on Internet access.

Que, an endocrinologist, is a prominent writer who has spent a total of 18 years in prison for his political activism since his first arrest in 1978. After he was arrested in 1998, authorities began keeping him under strict surveillance and tightly restricting his movements. However, Que has remained active in recent years by writing a number of essays and letters calling for political reforms.

Que had not been formally charged or tried by year's end. In May, during a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, Raymond Burghardt, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that Que will be released only if he agrees to leave Vietnam permanently and live in exile, according to a Radio Free Asia report.

Que's brother Nguyen Quoc Quan told CPJ that Que refused a similar offer of exile when he was amnestied from prison in 1998, telling him at that time that "exile is not freedom."

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