Report: Human Rights Lawyers in China Beaten, Arrested
Nomaan Merchant, WASHINGTON POST
Lawyers who defend human rights activists and dissidents targeted by China’s communist government have increasingly themselves become subject to political prosecutions, violence and other means of suppression, according to a report released Thursday. The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a coalition of groups working within and outside China, identified six occasions last year that lawyers were beaten by plaintiffs, police officers or assailants likely hired by authorities.
China Expels Missionaries for Helping North Korean Defectors Amid Increased Tensions
Kate Mansfield, EXPRESS
Beijing reportedly expelled more than 60 South Korean Christians for engaging in “missionary activity,” which is against China’s strict laws on religion. One source said the missionaries were working with North Korean defectors in China’s northeastern Jilin province. A missionary who was arrested and later released accused China of tracking bank accounts and placing suspected traitors under surveillance to find out who is helping the defectors.
Inside the Secretive, Murderous Dictatorship of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un took power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. He’s the third member of the Kim family to rule since the peninsula was divided up after World War II. The 33-year-old has since engaged in a ruthless campaign to secure his position, killing government and military officials he perceived to be a danger. Estimates place the number of his dead at up to 350.
Diplomat to Accept Award from Democracy Activists in Cuba
A prominent diplomat is planning a politically sensitive trip to Cuba to accept an award from a pro-democracy group on the island. The Organization of American States says Secretary General Luis Almagro will travel to Cuba next week to accept the Oswaldo Payá Prize from the Latin America Youth Network for Democracy. OAS spokesman Gonzalo Espariz confirmed the trip Wednesday.
Venezuela Shuts off CNN in Spanish after Criticizing Story
THE WASHINGTON POST
Venezuela suspended CNN in Spanish on Wednesday, shutting off the news channel after officials angrily criticized a report by the network alleging government workers sold passports to members of a Middle East terror group. The National Telecommunications Commission announced it initiated the “administrative sanction” because of news stories that it considered “direct aggressions” against Venezuela. Those aggressions “threaten the peace and democratic stability” of Venezuela, the agency said in a news release.
Trump Urges Venezuelan Government to Release “Political Prisoner” López
President Trump on Wednesday evening called on the Venezuelan government to release imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López, who is serving a 14-year sentence for allegations that he incited anti-government violence during protests in 2014. Tweeting a picture of himself alongside Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and López’s wife Lilian Tintori, the president wrote that Venezuela should “immediately” release “political prisoner” Leopoldo López.
Prominent Vietnamese Rights Defender Released From Prison
RADIO FREE ASIA
Vietnamese authorities released prominent human rights defender and blogger Bui Thi Minh Hang on Saturday after she served a three-year prison sentence. The activist had been held in Gia Trung prison camp in the country’s Central Highlands since Feb. 11, 2014, on charges of “causing public disorder” and obstructing traffic when she and two other bloggers were on their way to visit a former political prisoner.
Three Human Rights Defenders Held Incommunicado
Within 10 days of each other, three unassociated Vietnamese human rights defenders were arrested in January and are currently being held in incommunicado pre-trial detention. With no access to lawyers, they are at risk of torture and other ill treatment. Trần Thị Nga, a member of the independent Vietnamese Women for Human Rights group, was arrested at her home in Phủ Lý, northern Vietnam on 21 January 2017. Nguyễn Văn Oai, a former prisoner of conscience and Catholic social activist, and Nguyễn Văn Hóa, a blogger from Kỳ Anh district, north central Vietnam, were arrested on 11 January 2017.