April 26, 2007

DISSENT: Critics Quickly Jailed in Cuba, China, Turkey

A renowned Chinese clean-water campaigner in the industrialized Shanghai watershed was taken from his home last week by undercover police officers on charges of blackmail.

Although pollution there is bad enough to have brought visits by top Communist Party officials, Wu Lihong’s family says his work upset local officials who profit from factory taxes.

Critics say Chinese harassment and detention of activists is commonplace.

In Cuba, journalist Oscar Sanchez Madan was arrested, tried and jailed all on the same day; a week later, human rights advocate Rolando Jimenez Posada was given a 12-year sentence after being held without charges for four years.

Both trials were held in secret, and neither had defense lawyers present. The Miami Herald reports that secret trials are common in Cuba, but are only recently coming to light.

Turkish punk rocker Cengiz Sari, 24, says a snotty lyric he wrote at age 17 about college entrance exams was simply teenage rebellion.

But years later the tune became an You Tube sensation, and the chief of the Turkish exam board got wind of it.

Now bandmembers and their agent face 18 months in jail for insulting “Turkishness,” the Washington Times reports.

Sources:

“Secret trials in Cuba are criticized”
Miami Herald, April 24, 2007

“Punk rockers face jail time over tune ‘insulting’ Turkey”
The Washington Times, April 24, 2007

“Once-acclaimed activist jailed by Chinese authorities”
Taipei Times, April 24, 2007

“China arrests environment activist Wu”
Agence France-Press, April 24, 2007

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