Laos: Detained protesters against Vietnamese rubber co. land grab now seriously ill in jail

Author: Ounkeo Souksavanh & Richard Finney, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 3 February 2019

"Two Lao Protest Villagers Seriously Ill in Jail", 1 February 2019

Two Lao villagers detained for almost two years without trial for protesting the loss of land awarded by the government to a Vietnamese rubber company are now seriously ill in jail....

In July 2017, 15 residents of Yeub village in Sekong's Thateng district were taken into custody for obstructing workers and cutting down trees on their former land, with several beaten or subjected to electric shocks in the days following their arrest.

Four members of the group have since been released, with another reported to have died in custody last year....

Two of the villagers still in custody, Souvanh and a villager named Nay, are now in failing health due to the harsh conditions in their jail....

...Speaking to RFA, Vanida Thepsouvanh—president of the Lao Movement for Human Rights, based in France—called on the government of Laos to "immediately and unconditionally" release the 10 Sekong villagers still in jail.

...Land grabs and the appropriation of public property to turn over to foreign and domestic companies are common in Laos, and villagers affected by them often refuse to speak out publicly because they fear retribution.

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