Kay Danes

. L A T E S T . N E W S .

Secret Prisons in Laos Hold Hakit Yang and Other American, U.K. Prisoners

Kay Danes of Australia, with the Foreign Prisoner Support Service, speaking at a April 2009 National Policy Conference on Laos held at the National Press Club in Washngton, D.C. She is flanked by panelists and speakers Mrs. Sheng Xiong (right) a Hmong-American from St. Paul, Minnesota and Mr. Philip Smith (left), Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis. Photo credit: Courtesy Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA).
12.08.2009 18:39:51 ‘I would like to raise my continued growing concerns for the three U.S. Citizens that went missing in Laos August 25th, 2007, following arrest,” said Kay Danes, Advocate, with the Foreign Prisoner Support Service. “These men have not returned to the United States, to their families.”

(live-PR.com) - St. Paul, Minnesota, Canberra, Australia and Washington, D.C., August 12, 2009

Australian Kay Danes, an author and human rights advocate, has issued an appeal regarding her concerns about prisoners still jailed in harsh conditions in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR), including three St. Paul, Minnesota Americans. The three, including Hakit Yang, are United States’ citizens of Lao Hmong descent.

Danes has also raised concerns about the case of United Kingdom (U.K.) citizen John Watson who was moved to an unknown prison in Laos recent for allegedly helping fellow-prisoner Samantha Orobator, also a U.K. citizen.

Mr. Hakit Yang, Congshineng Yang, and Trillion Yunhaison, all Hmong-American citizens from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, were arrested and imprisoned by Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) military and security forces in August of 2007 after traveling from St. Paul as tourists seeking potential business investment opportunities in Laos.

Ms. Orobator was recently released from horrific prison conditions in Laos, from Laos’ notorious Phonthong Prison in Vientiane, after a major diplomatic effort was undertaken by the U.K. government to help negotiate her release. click here

‘I would like to raise my continued growing concerns for the three U.S. Citizens that went missing in Laos August 25th, 2007, following arrest,” said Kay Danes, Advocate, with the Foreign Prisoner Support Service. “These men have not returned to the United States, to their families.”

Mrs. Kay Danes continued: “The Thai Government confirms they have no record of their arrival to Thailand, as claimed by the Lao authorities. I sincerely appeal to President Choummaly Sayasone to have this matter investigated. I strongly believe that Hakit Yang, Congshineng Yang, and Trillion Yunhaison, are alive but are detained in Laos.

Danes further stated: “I urge President Sayasone to consider that certain corrupt elements within the Lao police authorities wrongly detained these men for the purpose of extortion. These officers have created a very embarrassing situation for Laos but I am confident that if the President’s office were to intervene, those police would be dealt with appropriately, and the three US Citizens would be returned to their families. This would indeed be a righteous act and would show the world that Laos will no longer tolerate this kind of behavior within lower level departments.”

“Hakit Yang and the two Hmong America citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota, were seeking tourist and investment opportunities while traveling to Laos have been secretly arrested and imprisoned, in an extrajudicial manner, for nearly two years now in Laos without charges, and without the family members being allowed to visit them in Laos,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

“After their imprisonment in Phonthong Prison, according to Kay Danes and other authoritative and credible sources, Hakit Yang and the other Hmong-Americans from St. Paul, Minnesota, have been moved by Lao military and LPDR security forces, and have disappeared into a secret Lao prison, which is part of the infamous LPDR gulag and reeducation camp system in Sam Nuea Province,” Smith commented.

Mrs. Danes participated in national policy conferences in Colorado, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Congress regarding foreign policy, human rights and humanitarian issues in Laos in April of 2009. She was joined by delegations of Lao and Hmong-Americans from St. Paul, Minnesota and across the United States who also participated in some of the events. Mrs. Sheng Xiong, the wife of imprisoned Hmong-American Hakit Yang, of St. Paul, Minnesota, served as a keynote speaker with Kay Danes at a number of the conferences and policy events in Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill.

While visiting the United States in April 2009, joined by Sheng Xiong at a national policy conference and U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos held in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Danes presented new information about the current whereabouts of Hakit Yang and the two other Hmong-Americans from St. Paul being jailed in Laos. Mrs. Sheng Xiong has repeatedly appealed for the release of her husband, Hakit Yang, from Laos. click here

Regarding the ongoing case of Mr. John Watson who has been moved to a different prison in Laos, Mrs. Danes remarked further: “I am deeply concerned for the welfare of the U.K. prisoner, John Watson, arrested on 16 December 2003. He was initially detained in the foreigner’s prison, Phonthong until recently when he was moved to a domestic political prison in Vientiane. I have contacted the U.K. Embassy to express these concerns, and to urge them to seek weekly consular access from Lao authorities, instead of the standard once a month, 20 minute visit.

Kay Danes concluded: “Whilst I accept the Lao authorities are well within their rights to punish prisoners, I hope they will adhere to the agreement they signed onto, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on the 7th of December 2000, and uphold the standard minimum treatment of prisoners. I respectfully request that the Laos authorities deal with Mr. Watson’s case in a manner that promotes more appropriate human rights standards…”

Kay, and her husband Kerry, were jailed and tortured in Laos in 2001. They were abused, tortured, threatened by LPDR officials. In Laos, repeated and cruel attempts were made to extort them into confessing an alleged offense they did not commit. Mrs. Kay Danes has recently written an account of their ordeal in a new book: " Standing Ground ". click here

Kay Danes is the author of a number of books including: “Families Behind Bars; Stories of Injustice, Endurance and Hope” (New Holland Publishers); and “Standing Ground; An Imprisoned Couple’s Struggle for Justice Against A Communist Regime” (New Holland Publishers). click here

“Nearly 5,000 Lao Hmong political refugees detained at Ban Huay Nam Khao refugee camp and Nong Khai, Thailand, have fled political and religious persecution by the LPDR communist regime. They are being threatened with forced repatriation to Laos by the Thai military who has said it will send them back to Laos this year despite repeated protests by international human rights and humanitarian organizations,” Philip Smith of the CPPA concluded.
Contact: Mr. Juan Lopez or Ms. Maria Gomez
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite No.#212
Washington, D.C. 20006 USA

Press Information:
Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)

Contact: Mr. Juan Lopez or Ms. Maria Gomez
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite No.#212
Washington, D.C. 20006 USA
Contact Person:
Mr. Juan Lopez
Phone: 202.543.1444
eMail: eMail
Web: click here


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