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Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by the human rights group Amnesty International in the early 1960s. It can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, color, language, sexual orientation, belief, or lifestyle so long as they have not used or advocated violence. It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously-held beliefs.

On 28 May 1961, the article The Forgotten Prisoners launched the campaign 'Appeal for Amnesty 1961' and first defined a 'prisoner of conscience'.[1]

Any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing (in any form of words or symbols) any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence." We also exclude those people who have conspired with a foreign government to overthrow their own.

The primary goal for this year-long campaign, founded by the English lawyer Peter Benenson and a small group of writers, academics and lawyers, particularly the Quaker peace activist Eric Baker, was to identify individual 'prisoners of conscience' around the world and then campaign for their release. In early 1962 the campaign had received enough public support to become a permanent organization and was renamed 'Amnesty International'.

Under British law, Amnesty International was classed as a political organisation and therefore excluded from tax-free charity status.[2] To work around this, the ‘Fund for the Persecuted’ was established in 1962 to receive donations to support prisoners and their families. The name was later changed to the 'Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund' and is now a separate and independent charity.[3]

Amnesty International has, since its founding, pressured governments to release those persons it considers to be prisoners of conscience.[4][5] Governments, conversely, tend to deny that the specific prisoners identified by Amnesty International are, in fact, being held on the grounds Amnesty claims and possess a genuine threat to the security of their country.

The phrase is now widely used in political discussions to describe a political prisoner, whether or not Amnesty International has specifically adopted the case, although the phrase has a different scope and definition than that of political prisoner.[6]

See also

People

References

  1. ^ London office to gather facts
  2. ^ Hopgood, Steven (2006). Keepers of the Flame: The Understanding Amnesty International. Cornell University Press. pp. 70.  
  3. ^ Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund
  4. ^ Amnesty International - History of Organization
  5. ^ Amnesty International
  6. ^ BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Freed China prisoner reaches US
  7. ^ "Continued detention of prisoner of conscience, Mohammed Nasheed". Amnesty International. 1996-05-01. http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA290021996. Retrieved 2009-09-22.  
  8. ^ "Time to release Aung San Suu Kyi". Amnesty International. 2008-03-25. http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/time-release-aung-san-suu-kyi. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  
  9. ^ "Karim Amer, Prisoner of Conscience". Amnesty International USA. http://www.amnestyusa.org/individuals-at-risk/priority-cases/karim-amer/page.do?id=1361068. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  
  10. ^ "Anwar Ibrahim: The Campaign For The Release Of A Prisoner Of Conscience". Amnesty International Asia Pacific Regional Office. http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/apro/APROweb.nsf/pages/goodnewsAnwarIbrahim. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  
  11. ^ "Singapore: Restrictions on Singapore's longest-serving political prisoner lifted". Amnesty International. 1998-11-27. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA36/006/1998/en/41ed837c-e774-11dd-9edc-8be7e550cfe5/asa360061998en.html. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  
  12. ^ Valerii Levonevskii and Aleksander Vasiliev were imprisoned for publishing a poem
  13. ^ "Libertad para Jacinta Marcial". Amnesty International. 2009-08. http://www.amnesty.org/es/library/asset/AMR41/041/2009/es/71d973c4-9936-4545-808f-6641e3bc90e5/amr410412009eng.html. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  
  14. ^ "Eight charged in Malaysian internet clampdown". Amnesty International. 2009-03-17. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/eight-charged-malaysian-internet-clampdown-20090317. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  
  15. ^ Corley, Felix (2002-02-14). "Ayse Nur Zarakolu". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/ayse-nur-zarakolu-729747.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22.  
  • Buchanan, Tom (October 2002). "'The Truth Will Set You Free': The Making of Amnesty International". Journal of Contemporary History 37 (4): 575–597.  

External links


Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by the human rights group Amnesty International in the early 1960s. It can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, color, language, sexual orientation, belief, or lifestyle so long as they have not used or advocated violence. It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously-held beliefs.

Contents

Definition

On 28 May 1961, the article The Forgotten Prisoners launched the campaign 'Appeal for Amnesty 1961' and first defined a 'prisoner of conscience'.[1]

Any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing (in any form of words or symbols) any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence." We also exclude those people who have conspired with a foreign government to overthrow their own.

The primary goal for this year-long campaign, founded by the English lawyer Peter Benenson and a small group of writers, academics and lawyers, particularly the Quaker peace activist Eric Baker, was to identify individual 'prisoners of conscience' around the world and then campaign for their release. In early 1962 the campaign had received enough public support to become a permanent organization and was renamed 'Amnesty International'.

Under British law, Amnesty International was classed as a political organisation and therefore excluded from tax-free charity status.[2] To work around this, the ‘Fund for the Persecuted’ was established in 1962 to receive donations to support prisoners and their families. The name was later changed to the 'Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund' and is now a separate and independent charity which provides relief and rehabilitation grants to prisoners of conscience in the UK and around the world.[3]

Amnesty International has, since its founding, pressured governments to release those persons it considers to be prisoners of conscience.[4][5] Governments, conversely, tend to deny that the specific prisoners identified by Amnesty International are, in fact, being held on the grounds Amnesty claims and possess a genuine threat to the security of their country.[6]

The phrase is now widely used in political discussions to describe a political prisoner, whether or not Amnesty International has specifically adopted the case, although the phrase has a different scope and definition than that of political prisoner.[7]

See also

People

References

  1. ^ London office to gather facts
  2. ^ Hopgood, Steven (2006). Keepers of the Flame: The Understanding Amnesty International. Cornell University Press. pp. 70. 
  3. ^ Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund
  4. ^ Amnesty International - History of Organization
  5. ^ Amnesty International
  6. ^ "Human Rights and the Dirty War in Mexico by Kate Doyle". National Security Archive. 2003-05-11. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Mexico/Dirty_War_Mexico.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  7. ^ "Freed China prisoner reaches US". BBC News. 2005-03-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4360193.stm. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  8. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/04/syrian-blogger-spy-jail
  9. ^ "Continued detention of prisoner of conscience, Mohammed Nasheed". Amnesty International. 1996-05-01. http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA290021996. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  10. ^ "Karim Amer, Prisoner of Conscience". Amnesty International USA. http://www.amnestyusa.org/individuals-at-risk/priority-cases/karim-amer/page.do?id=1361068. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  11. ^ "Anwar Ibrahim: The Campaign For The Release Of A Prisoner Of Conscience". Amnesty International Asia Pacific Regional Office. http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/apro/APROweb.nsf/pages/goodnewsAnwarIbrahim. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  12. ^ USA: Soldier imprisoned as conscientious objector: Travis Bishop
  13. ^ "Singapore: Restrictions on Singapore's longest-serving political prisoner lifted". Amnesty International. 1998-11-27. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA36/006/1998/en/41ed837c-e774-11dd-9edc-8be7e550cfe5/asa360061998en.html. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  14. ^ Valerii Levonevskii and Aleksander Vasiliev were imprisoned for publishing a poem
  15. ^ "Libertad para Jacinta Marcial". Amnesty International. 2009-08. http://www.amnesty.org/es/library/asset/AMR41/041/2009/es/71d973c4-9936-4545-808f-6641e3bc90e5/amr410412009eng.html. Retrieved 2009-09-20.  (Spanish)
  16. ^ "Eight charged in Malaysian internet clampdown". Amnesty International. 2009-03-17. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/eight-charged-malaysian-internet-clampdown-20090317. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  17. ^ "Time to release Aung San Suu Kyi". Amnesty International. 2008-03-25. http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/time-release-aung-san-suu-kyi. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  18. ^ Corley, Felix (2002-02-14). "Ayse Nur Zarakolu". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/ayse-nur-zarakolu-729747.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  • Buchanan, Tom (October 2002). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "'The Truth Will Set You Free': The Making of Amnesty International"]. Journal of Contemporary History 37 (4): 575–597. doi:10.1177/00220094020370040501. 

External links








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