BIRN Albania Wins Landmark Verdict on Secret Files
An Administrative Court in Tirana has ordered Albania’s main intelligence agency, SHISH, to de-classify reports of the former Communist-era Sigurimi secret police and its data on the number of people kept under surveillance during the last decade of the Communist regime. More than two-decades after the collapse of the regime in 1991, Albania remains one of the few countries in Eastern Europe where Communist-era secret police files are still a state secret.
Bulgarian Parliament Moves to Bar Glorification of Communism
THE SOFIA GLOBE
Bulgaria’s Parliament approved on November 24 the first reading of amendments providing for the removal of signs, slogans, photos, and other objects created during the country’s communist regime and that glorify or praise the Bulgarian Communist Party and its leading figures. If objects or structures cannot be removed, a sign must be added saying that the communist regime in Bulgaria had been declared criminal by law.
Hong Kong Caught in Diplomatic Bind as Customs Seize Shipment of Military Vehicles from Taiwan
Clifford Lo and Minnie Chan, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
A routine customs inspection in Hong Kong that led to the seizure of nine armored personnel carriers has placed it in the middle of diplomatic tension between Singapore and China over the city state’s long-running military exchanges with Taiwan.
North Korea: New Satellite Images Reveal “Hellish” Reality of Kim Jong-un’s Prison Camps
Joe Sharman, INDEPENDENT
North Korea has renovated a crematorium at one of the notorious camps where its regime tortures and starves political prisoners, new satellite images have revealed. Amnesty International claims the new pictures prove the infamous camp system is still running because people can also be seen harvesting crops and new guard towers have been created. The tens of thousands of people held in the camps face unimaginable suffering—excruciating forced labor, rampant malnutrition, violent punishments, rape, and even execution.
Miami Street Sign Dedicated to Ladies in White
It was a symbolic moment Wednesday for the Ladies in White, a Cuban dissident group, who witnessed the unveiling of a street sign in Miami named after the activists. Relatives and wives of jailed dissidents founded the Ladies in White in 2003. Every Sunday in Cuba, the women peacefully march to church asking for the release of all political prisoners. They are often arrested, harassed, and beaten by government security forces.
Venezuela’s Opposition Says Vatican-Brokered Talks Are “Frozen”
Venezuela’s opposition has said that talks with the government were “frozen” after officials failed to attend meetings, throwing cold water on Vatican-brokered attempts to bridge the country’s deep political crisis. Though the formal talks, which began last month, appeared to have led to the release of a handful of detained activists, hopes for real rapprochement were always slim.
UN Working Group Seeks Release of Vietnamese Photographer Jailed in 2013
RADIO FREE ASIA
Minh Man was one of 14 bloggers, writers, and political and social activists who were convicted in 2013 of plotting to overthrow the government and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 13 years in what human rights groups said was the largest subversion case to be brought in the country in years. The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on Hanoi to release her because “it is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty” for Minh Man.