Three prisoners of conscience continued to be held throughout 1993. One long-term prisoner of conscience died in custody. Three untried political detainees were released from "re-education" but continued to be restricted. Three other political prisoners continued to serve sentences of life imprisonment after an unfair trial. In February the National Assembly approved the appointment of Nouhak Phoumsavanh as President. At the same time it endorsed the formation of a new government, which involved extensive ministerial changes. Three prisoners of conscience continued to be held in the northern province of Houa Phanh. Thongsouk Saysangkhi, Latsami Khamphoui and Feng Sakchittaphong had been sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment in November 1992 after a trial that failed to meet international standards for fairness. Despite official charges against them which included preparing for rebellion, Amnesty International believed that they were detained for peacefully advocating a multi-party political system (see Amnesty International Report 1993). According to unofficial sources they were transferred early in the year from Sop Hao Central Prison to "Re-education" Camp 7. They were reportedly held initially in harsh conditions in a dark cell. In August they were moved to a different location within the camp with improved conditions. However, all three were reported to be suffering from chronic medical conditions and no medical facilities were available in the camp. In April prisoner of conscience Thuck Chokbengboun died after an illness. He had been detained in "re-education" camps without charge or trial for almost 18 years, often in harsh conditions, and had been ill for a long time. In March he was transferred from Sop Pan "Re-education" Camp in Houa Phanh province to a government hospital in Vientiane, the capital, for medical treatment. He died three weeks later. In January three untried political prisoners were moved from the Sop Pan camp to a village to which they were restricted. Ly Teng, Tong Pao Song and Yong Ye Thao, who had been held in "re-education" camps without charge or trial since 1975, were moved to a village in Sop Hao, Houa Phanh province. They had been under police investigation in 1992 in connection with alleged killings in the 1970s (see Amnesty International Report 1993). Their freedom of movement was restricted and they were prohibited from leaving the village. Three other political prisoners, Pangtong Chokbengboun, Bounlu Nammathao and Sing Chanthakoummane, remained in detention at the Sop Pan camp. Before being sentenced to life imprisonment after an unfair trial in 1992, they also had been detained without charge or trial for more than 17 years (see Amnesty International Report 1993). According to unofficial sources, Khamsone Vongnarath, a Lao student detained in 1992, was released in early 1993. He had been forcibly taken back to Laos from Moscow in December 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993). Amnesty International continued to call for the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of conscience and the fair trial or release from detention or restriction of other long-term political prisoners. In August Amnesty International published a report, Laos: Freedom of expression still denied, multi-party advocates and political prisoners sentenced after unfair trials. The report detailed the organization's concerns about prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners. By the end of the year no response had been received from the Lao authorities about any of these concerns.
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