Monday, May 2, 2011
"Our families in Minnesota, and many in the Laotian and Hmong-American community, are appealing to President Barack Obama, the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to press the Lao government to immediately release the three Hmong men who were arrested and wrongly imprisoned in Laos for over three and a half years, without charges being filed," said Sheng Xiong of St. Paul, Minnesota, who is the wife of imprisoned Hmong-American Hakit Yang and a spokeswoman for the families of the three Americans being held in Laos."
Minnesota Twin Cities' Hmong-American families have renewed an international plea for amnesty for their wrongly-jailed family members in Laos. St. Paul, and Minneapolis, Laotian and Hmong-American families, community members and human rights organizations, continue to speak out requesting the release of three Hmong-American citizens who were arrested in Laos by Lao People's Army soldiers and secret police in August of 2007. The families, joined by Laotian and Hmong non-governmental and non-profit organizations, have appealed to U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Lao President and communist party leader, Lt. General Choummaly Sayasone,
General Choummaly Sayasone heads the one-party military junta in Vientiane and also serves as the President.
“Our families in Minnesota, and many in the Laotian and Hmong-American community, are appealing to President Barack Obama, the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to press the Lao government to immediately release the three Hmong men who were arrested and wrongly imprisoned in Laos for over three and a half years, without charges being filed,” said Sheng Xiong of Minnesota, a spokeswoman for the families of the men.
The three American citizens of ethnic Lao Hmong descent, Congshineng Yang, Trillion Yunhaison and Hakit Yang, traveled from Minnesota in July of 2007 to Laos as tourists, and to seek potential business investment opportunities in Laos.
Mrs. Sheng Xiong recently voiced a renewed international appeal for the families, and many in the Lao Hmong-American community, to Scoop News in New Zealand, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) in Minneapolis, Businesswire in Washington, D.C., the Washington Times and other newspapers and radio stations..
"We want answers from the Lao government about Hakit Yang, and the other Hmong-Americans, that were arrested while traveling with him in Laos," Mrs. Xiong stated.
The Australia-based Foreign Prisoners Support Service (FPSS), and author and human rights activist Kay Danes, has repeatedly raised the case of the three jailed Hmong men in Laos. Danes was a keynote speaker at the World Affairs Council and public policy events in Washington, DC in 2009, held in the U.S. Congress and National Press Club, to discuss the plight of the three men jailed in Laos and other human rights and refugee issues regarding Laos, Thailand and Southeast Asia. Mrs. Danes, Sheng Xiong, and others, spoke about the three American's arrest in Laos, imprisonment in Phonthong Prison in Vientiane, and later forced move to a secret Lao People's Army (LPA) military prison in Sam Neua province in the Northeastern part of the Southeast Asian nation. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1001/S00247.htm
Mrs. Danes is also the author of “Standing Ground” ( New Holland Publishers, Australia ) a book about her ordeal as a political prisoner suffering, and witnessing torture, in Vientiane's Phonthong Prison in Laos. Kay and Kerry Danes were jailed by corrupt Lao communist party officials, who sought to seize the assets for foreign investors in Laos. The Danes were released after the high-level intervention of human rights activists, the Australian Embassy in Laos, Australian Foreign Ministry and others. http://www.newholland.com.au/product.php?isbn=9781741107579
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and its Executive Director, Philip Smith, as well as others concerned about human rights and foreign policy issues in Laos, and Southeast Asia, continue to raise concerns about this humanitarian case and other issues.
“We are concerned that the White House, and President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton, appear to be unaware of the serious human rights violations being committed by the Lao People's Army, and senior communist party officials, against American citizens traveling to Laos as well as independent Laotian and Hmong religious believers, student leaders, political refugees, dissidents and peaceful opposition groups,” Smith said.
“We are requesting that the White House, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, vigorously and repeatedly address this terrible injustice; We want the Obama Administration and U.S. Embassy in Laos to raise the issue of the ongoing imprisonment of the three Hmong-American citizens from Minnesota, at the highest diplomatic levels with the Lao government, and urge that the three American men be immediately released from Laos' notorious and secret gulag system,” Smith stated.
“The continued imprisonment of American citizens in Laos-- and other critical human rights, religious freedom, refugee and other issues -- should be raised with the Lao President Lt. General Choummaly Sayasone , and other senior LPA military generals and communist politburo members at meetings with Obama Administration and State Department officials,” Smith said.
“Unfortunately, corruption and human rights violations in Laos, by Lao communist party and military officials is rampant, and we are concerned that the White House, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, not be perceived as appeasing the Lao military junta while it continues to wrongly jail and abuse American citizens and many of its own Laotian people, including the Hmong and Lao student pro-democracy leaders; Currently, the one-party regime in Laos is a close ally of authoritarian regimes in Burma and North Korea, which is another serious concern,” Smith concluded.
Contact: Maria Gomez
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 220
Washington, D.C. 20006
Tele. (202) 543-1444