ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Thailand Set to Repatriate Lao Hmong Despite Concerns of Political Persecution


THAILAND - LAOS HMONG: Thai military authorities say they will send about 4,000 Hmong living in a Thai refugee camp back to Laos by the end of the year, despite concerns they may face political persecution. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok. A military spokesman on Wednesday confirmed to VOA that Thailand will repatriate the Hmong within about a week. They have been living at the Huay Nam Khao camp in Thailand's northern Petchabun province. Many of the Hmong at the camp fear persecution by Lao authorities if they are sent back and are believed to want political asylum. Thailand says they will be repatriated on a voluntary basis, but has never allowed the United Nations' refugee agency or any third party to assess their refugee status or monitor their return.

CHINA - DISSIDENT: China prevented foreign diplomats from attending the trial Wednesday of a leading dissident charged with inciting state subversion. But authorities allowed Liu Xiaobo's brother-in-law into the Intermediate People's Court in Beijing for the trial. The brother-in-law, Liu Hui, says the proceedings lasted about two hours. He says prosecutors accused Liu Xiaobo of "serious" crimes and said a verdict will be handed down Friday. Liu Xiaobo's wife and Western diplomats gathered outside the Beijing courthouse after being denied access to the trial.

THAILAND - NOKOR -IRAN: A new report by arms trafficking experts says a plane loaded with North Korean arms and seized by Thai authorities earlier this month was headed for Iran. Analysts say a detailed flight itinerary reveals the Georgian-registered aircraft was chartered by a Hong Kong-based firm to fly what it called "oil industry spare parts" to Tehran. The flight included a number of stops for refueling along the way, including in Azerbaijan and Ukraine. A draft of the report was provided to U.S. news agencies this week from arms analysts in the United States and Belgium.

BURMA - US: A human rights group has has appealed to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture about the treatment of a detained Burmese-American in Rangoon. In a letter to the U.N.'s Manfred Nowak Tuesday, the group Freedom Now says activist Kyaw Zaw Lwin, better known as Nyi Nyi Aung, has been subjected to torture by prison officials in Burma's notorious Insein Prison. The group says Aung is being kept in a so-called "military dog cell," a small cramped cell (20 cm by 25 cm) with barking dogs nearby. Freedom Now says it believes the treatment has been going on since early December as punishment for a nearly two-week hunger strike he ended last Saturday.

IRAN - PROTESTS: Iranian opposition groups are reporting new clashes between security forces and supporters of the late dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in central Iran. Opposition Web sites say security forces cracked down Wednesday on opposition protests in the Iranian cities of Isfahan and Najafabad, the cleric's birthplace. The reports say Iranian police in Isfahan fired tear gas to disperse protesters taking part in a memorial service for Ayatollah Montazeri. They say several activists were arrested and many more were injured.

COLUMBIA - UNREST: Officials in Colombia say a provincial governor who was kidnapped by suspected leftist rebels has been found dead in southern Caqueta province. Authorities say the body, which was surrounded by explosives, was discovered Tuesday near the Caqueta's capital, Florencia, one day after Governor Luis Francisco Cuellar was abducted from his home. The kidnappers had used explosives when raiding the governor's home, killing one police officer. Investigators believe a unit of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was responsible.

JAMAICA - PLANE: Officials now say 91 people were injured when an American Airlines jetliner overshot the runway at the airport in the Jamaican capital of Kingston late Tuesday night. The Boeing 737 jet overran the runway at Norman Manley International Airport as it was coming in for a landing during a heavy rainstorm. The plane went through a fence at the end of the runway and skidded over a roadway before coming to rest on a beach. There are no reports of any fatalities. More than 150 people were on board the flight, which originated in Washington, DC and stopped in Miami before heading to Kingston.

INDIA - SECURITY: India's home minister is calling for "radical" changes in the country's fight against terrorism. Palaniappan Chidambaram says terrorists could launch another attack "sooner than you think" and that the country needs a single agency to lead the response. He said India thwarted 12 or 13 potential terrorist attacks this year. During a speech Wednesday, he said India's ability to respond to future terror attacks is hampered by the fact that oversight for the country's security elements is spread across too many government agencies.

Listen to our World News for details.

XS
SM
MD
LG