RealNews

Laos Refuses Access to Arrested Foreigners

Laotian authorities are refusing diplomats access to two European journalists and their American-Hmong guide who were arrested in northeastern Laos for alleged involvement in a murder, a U.S. Embassy official said Friday. The three men are being questioned at an undisclosed location in the capital, said the official contacted by phone in Vientiane. He spoke on condition of anonymity. The three were brought to Vientiane on Thursday from the northeastern province of Xieng Khuang where police arrested them June 4, accusing them of cooperating with bandits to kill a village security official, he said. “The government has said they are being treated well” but refuses to let diplomats meet with them, he said. Press freedom groups have described the murder charges as ridiculous, and say the three men are being punished for reporting on ethnic Hmong rebels fighting against the communist government. The rebels are remnants of what was a CIA-backed army that fought against the Lao communists during the Vietnam War. The rebels operate in deep jungles and few outsiders have seen them. Full Story

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