Talk:Political prisoner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Suggested content[edit]

Suggest scraping the entire thing as it stood on 8 Jan 2011 and starting again as below:

"Political Prisoner is a term used to describe prisoners who are (or were) imprisoned for the political purposes of a party, administration, monarch, person or group with more political resources and power. Political imprisonment can be accompanied by torture, absence of trial, trails in mock courts (Kangaroo Courts or Show Trials) and other abuses made unlawful by the Geneva Convention.

In general political imprisonment describes the imprisonment of people for primarily political reasons. The phrase became popular in the 20th century, although prisoners fitting the description have been imprisoned since at least the peak of the Athenian hegemony near 399BC when Socrates was imprisoned and finally poisoned.

The key concept in understanding political imprisonment is that the prisoners generally pose a political challenge to governing bodies or powerful and wealthy forces. For this reason political prisoners may not necessarily hold strong political views but their presence could pose problems for others who do. Historical examples of people imprisoned for their inconvenient political presence rather than for political activism include heirs in the line of succession, women who failed to bear heirs, women who (in more recent years) challenged the patriarchal order as adulterers, and rank and file prisoners of war.

Sometimes prisoners become political causes after questionable imprisonment for ordinary crimes or following political pressure from non-local regimes or the canvassing of popular public sentiment in mainstream media, for example the imprisonment of Schapelle Corby. Such a prisoner could be considered a political prisoner because their imprisonment is arguably the result of political pressure rather than solid evidence of crime. Sometimes law enforcement agencies are politically pressured to ensure a conviction, and when these cases become known in public media the trials generate politically charged discourse. Such a prisoner might not originally satisfy the traditional definition of a political prisoner but their cases can become politicised if the process of pursuing justice has been compromised.

Political prisoners throughout the last one and a half centuries have been typically imprisoned for holding views that clash with the political views of a nation's administrators or for having ideas that clash with the work carried out by intelligence gathering networks and surveillance agencies. Sometimes political prisoners have been imprisoned for only being related to other people who hold particular political views, either as friends or as family. The beliefs of Political Prisoners cover a wide range of views. Political Prisoners have been imprisoned for holding a diversity of beliefs including: religious beliefs (Christian, Jewish, Islamic and atheism), beliefs concerning war (pro and anti), women's suffrage, anti-apartheid beliefs, a belief in human rights in general, labourers' activism and pro-democracy activism, espionage (for spying and for refusing to spy), as well as for journalistic activities. Political activism on the part of the prisoner is not necessarily a pre-requisite to becoming a political prisoner though, as discussed in paragraphs above, because political imprisonment depends on other political forces as well.

(Followed by a chronological list of documented examples of political prisoners demonstrating a broad range of political reasons and regimes/dynasties/hegemonies/empires over at least the past 2411 years. Suggest beginning with Socrates, inclusion of imprisoned and tortured Christian saints, imprisoned heirs to thrones, examples from the Spanish inquisition and other early historical examples where contributors might be able to exercise more neutrality than when documenting current events. The Tower of London is one of the world's most famous political prisons and now a popular tourist site, political prisoners who were held there should certainly be included in the list. The list should conclude with more recent and current examples beginning with large scale political imprisonments including the Gulag, nazi concentration camps, shooting of prisoners at the Tower of London during the second world war, rule of the Khmer Rouge, Falun Gong prisoners, and well known examples from the extraordinary rendition network and Guantanamo Bay as well as examples within domestic prisons in nations that declare themselves democratic - for example the weekend detention of the anti-war protesters who wrote "NO WAR" on the Sydney Opera house.)

(Conclude with extensive footing-noting and impeccable citation.)"

Tim DeChristopher[edit]

In light of Mr. DeChristopher's conviction and the facts surrounding his case, I figured I'd suggest him being added to this page. Instead of just going ahead and editing the page, I felt it's better to see if there are any legitimate arguments against this by asking on the talk page first. BinaryMn (talk) 05:05, 1 August 2011 (UTC)


A very subjective article, slim on factual content and failing to satisfy Wikipedia's requirement that articles be written in encyclopaedic style.

Misleading in definition of the term "political prisoner".


"In the Soviet Union, dubious psychiatric diagnoses were sometimes used to confine political prisoners": this U.S.-centric canard again! The same thing is done in the U.S.! The pot is calling the kettle black! I am rewriting for NPOV. --Daniel C. Boyer

Any examples of that in the US, or are you all talk? A2Kafir 02:13, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It has happened, though rarely, and far in the past. See Aurora D'Angelo, for example. There was no organized effort to use it as a political weapon, though. --Aquillion (talk) 00:16, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

What about Alice Paul at Occaquan? She was definitely a political prisoner in the classic sense, and a psychiatric diagnosis was being attempted in order to portray her hunger strike as a suicidal disorder. It was U.S., it was in all the major papers of record, it was coordinated out of the U.S. Capitol Police offices, with possible collusion of President Wilson. Ondelette (talk) 06:45, 17 December 2010 (UTC) Actually, the total absence of American political prisoners just renders the whole page hypocritical at a glance. Alice Paul makes one example, John Brown is another famous one. More recently, Bobby Seale spent 4 years in prison for contempt of court, no convictions for any crime whatsoever, clearly a political prisoner. There are always examples of political prisoners from every country in the world, the absence of prisoners from any one country just renders the list ludicrous, and when people put up such an example and it is promptly removed, then it really makes the page fly in the face of any NPOV doctrine. (talk) 08:50, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

War on Drugs[edit]

The Wiki-fascists evidently find the following citation objectionable. Though the article alleges that ALL countries have examples of political prisoners, yet when some prominent Americans allege that the victims of the politically-motivated war on drugs may be examples of political prisoners, such an example as follows cannot be cited, presumably due to irrational application of the NPOV dogma:

In America, Rep. Charlie Rangel and others have called those imprisoned due to the War on drugs, political prisoners [1].

There's nothing irrational about it. Murderers, deserters and drug dealers are not political prisoners! -- Spock

Let's not jump to conclusions! Especially not with the upcoming extradition case of Marc Emery and two fellow activists. Emery is charged with what American officials chose to call money laundering. However Emery's seed sale proceeds have been properly taxed and reported to the government from the beginning, and has been donated to political movements worldwide. From that perspective he would absolutely be a political prisoner in the event that the US is successful. Furthermore, since the length of Emery's sentence will depend on whether he regrets what he did or not (which is a blatant question of his political ideas) it's safe to say that he will be in prison for his beliefs. Though I don't want to write this in the article itself just yet, I'm getting political myself. And Wikipedia isn't a crystal ball either. ;) --GSchjetne 00:44, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Anyone who converts the proceeds of criminal activity (such as drug trafficking) into another form is guilty of money laundering. This is foolishness. -- User:Spock 23:38, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Not if such crimes are widespread and the prosecution is politically biased. For illustration, there are millions of drug users and dealers, if the police go to extraordinary measures to arrest and ensure successful prosection of one such individual because he is a political activist, he would be a political prisoner. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:38, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Exactly. The motivation is the issue: is it an abuse of power. ( Martin | talkcontribs 20:37, 24 April 2012 (UTC))

Mordechai Vanunu[edit]

Shouldn't he be included? He exposed the Israeli nuclear program in the eighties. He is free since 2004, but is not allowed to leave the country or to speak with foreign media. He risks more charges because he violated the latter restriction, something he feels is simply one of its human rights. is a campaigning site for Mordechai

No. Mr. Vanunu sold nuclear secrets to a British newspaper -- he committed treason, straight up. -- Spock

I disagree. His rights are violated. His trial was not public. His arrest was on foreign soil. Evilbu 22:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

So what? There's no dispute that he was guilty of the crime of which he was convicted: he readily admits he divulged his country's secrets for money. -- Spock 00:29, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia policy and precedent seems to pretty clear on this sort of debate: Include Vanunu only if there is a significantly large group that considers him to be one. If the group is not reputable, that should be noted.Emmett5 23:17, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Leonard Peltier[edit]

I updated the Leonard Peltier entry to be what I consider a more NPOV. I also removed the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and reverted it back to United States. Pine Ridge was where the alleged crime happened, not where/who keeps him imprisoned. He is imprisoned by the United States. Oyvind 17:54, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Woo Yong Gak[edit]

I'm confused here --- I realize that Amnesty International considered him a political prisoner, and the cited CBS News article refers to him as such, but why? The man was imprisoned for espionage, not for any political works or action. --Dcfleck 14:07, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Matt Pearce[edit]

Political prisoner? He went to jail for harrassing a women in HK —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Exactly, and I've removed him. -- User:Spock 02:37, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Hi Spock. In future please try to use the edit summary to help explain edits as you make them. I reverted your edit prior to your above post because it was performed without any explanation at the time and appeared suspect. Sorry, I should have assumed good faith. If there is consensus here for removing Woo Yong Gak, please do so --DTGHYUKLPOQWMNB 02:56, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree and have removed him. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mod83 (talkcontribs) 02:22, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

recent edits - copying from user's Talk page[edit]

Hi, would you mind explaining on the talk page why you reverted my edit? Peltier was convicted of murder, it is a fact. Isarig 01:44, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

all the others in the list have been convicted of various crimes by the nation holding them however only Peltier memtioned the legal procedings therby puting unbalanced information on the page. if the reader is intrested in the specific legal background they may read it at his page.

That's not correct. The next in the list, Woo Yong Gak, is described as "convicted of espionage, and who refused to sign an oath of obedience to his captors' National Security Law". The next one, Chia Thye Poh , is described as "imprisoned without charge or trial until 1989 upon suspicion that he was a member of the Communist Party of Malaysia and therefore a threat to the security of Singapore.". And there are many more. I am copying this to {[talk:Political prisoner]], please continue the discussion there. Isarig 14:35, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

The Russian version in problems[edit]

If anybody speaks Russian, then, look, please, at the Russian version. It is considered for deletion. dima (talk) 12:25, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Objective standard[edit]

From reading this article, it appears that there is no objective standard that determines who is or is not a political prisoner. Is that correct? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:28, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I've also posted a related inquiry at Category talk:Political prisoners and victims#Criteria. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:39, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

See for discussion about the linked category. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:44, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikiproject Prisons[edit]

If anyone is interested, I have proposed a new Wikiproject concerning prisons here.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 22:46, 13 June 2008 (UTC)


The article should include only people who have been declared as political prisoners by human rights organization. Otherwise any prisoner can be claimed as political prisoner. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Luis Napoles (talkcontribs) 22:26, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Geez, that would mean erasing most (if not all) of the Cubans here, right? (talk) 02:00, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Surely Amnesty International could provide a fairly objective source ? -- Beardo (talk) 05:44, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

You wouldn't want to skip human rights watch. I think most people feel that the Bradley Manning/Julian Assange situation has enough political motivation to qualify, as does the Tim DeChristopher case (they would not let him buy the rights to the lot he bid on and won). Whistleblowers are a separate list, unless we get reporters jailed, as we might. I'd say that ABCF and Jericho Movement should be included, since they support the MOVE 9 (the people bombed in Phiadelphia from a helicopter by the police), the Black Panthers, the Cuban 5, environmental convictions, I would add John Walker Lyndh, where the Attorney General made improper declarations, which prove political involvement (ie where the desire to seek justice has been eclipsed by a political goal of some sort - like to prove that 'we are doing our job' and 'keeping you safe'.) ( Martin | talkcontribs 06:53, 8 April 2012 (UTC))

Hate speech, discrimination, Holocaust denial, etc.[edit]

Could somebody include a few people imprisoned for actions not compliant with the current multiculturalist sentiment prevalent among the governments of Western states without committing any other crimes or advocating violence? E.g., Ernst Zundel (sentenced for 15 months for Holocaust denial). Humanophage (talk) 21:24, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

You are looking for an arrest where the content of the speech was the cause, and the content was not fraudulent or commercial but was a bona fide advocacy of an idea, a violation of nationwide "academic freedom" so to speak. Certainly we have heard recently, that agreeing that a terrorist group has a valid complaint can constitute "material support", under the new bill - I forget its letters - and arrestable. I will have to look for examples. I don't think that this guy would be convicted in the USA, as I understand what the law used to be.( Martin | talkcontribs 07:12, 8 April 2012 (UTC))

Wang Bingzhang[edit]

His removal was a mistake. I was looking at the top level criteria, that said "The list below includes examples of individuals who are considered political prisoners and are currently being held despite not having a trial or being subject to any other judicial process." Wang is actually under a different section. Still, he could use a better reference that actually calls him a political prisoner, instead of just saying that he got an unfair trial. Quigley (talk) 20:51, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Examples of Political Prisoners[edit]

Are these examples really necessary? The article is not a List of Political Prisoners, but about the concept. If anything important or well-known political prisoners should be discussed in prose, putting them into context. There are of course other problems with having a list in this article. It is unclear how examples will be choosen, and what the inclusion criterias are. Many examples are at best controversial, as only fringe groups claim certain prisoners to be political prisoners. Stepopen (talk) 02:33, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree with this; it would be best to remove the list, perhaps retaining just a few well-known political prisoners as examples in the text. The designation of someone as a political prisoner is often highly controversial, especially if you're going to list people who were imprisoned for armed uprisings and attempted coups (e.g. Adolf Hitler, who is currently listed). --Aquillion (talk) 00:24, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Rather than have a list on the page itself, I think it would be a good idea to have a separate list page, or a category:political prisoners (or category:prisoners of conscience) Dadge (talk) 23:23, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Julian Assange[edit]

A claim that he is a 'political prisoner' keeps being inserted while the cited CNN source says "sexual offences". It is a conspiracy theory to suggest otherwise at present. Assange is held after bail was refused by the court last Tuesday and will appear in court again next Tuesday. Not exactly the behaviour of a police state. Philip Cross (talk) 16:54, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

The same problem exists with several other entries in this list as only fringe groups claim that Mumia Abu Jamal or Leonard Peltier are political prisoners. They are all in prison for criminal offenses. Some claim that they are innocent, and only fringe groups claim that they are not only innocent but also in jail for their political beliefs. In any case see also my post above - this list serves little purpose in this article. Stepopen (talk) 18:34, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
They're accused of criminal offenses, but the decisions to prosecute them instead of the many other people who commit those same offenses were politically based. -- (talk) 23:12, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, of course. Were are the reliable sources that say so? Not some political fringe groups with their conspiracy theories, but mainstream sources that show that they are widely considered political prisoners. Stepopen (talk) 06:38, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
As far as Leonard Peltier's case is concerned, the defense is that the reservation was, for the native Indians, a 'wild west', lawless, with political killings that were not prosecuted, under the BIA puppet regime of Richard Wilson and his goon squad (that was their name). Wilson's goon squad were thugs who often beat up people thought to be AIM backers, and Wilson threatened to "stomp" the AIMers or kill them, and his goons did his bidding. He shot up an airplane that white lawyers arrived in, cut open the convertible they were driving in, and sent a number to the hospital. The murder rate was eight times Detroit's. The agents who raced onto the Jumping Bull property were not known and did not identify themselves as Special Agents. The two other indians involved in the shooting, Dino Butler and Bob Robideaux, were found not guilty (in a separate trial) on the grounds of self-defense; or "stand your ground". ( Martin | talkcontribs 06:20, 8 April 2012 (UTC))
I think any list should be separate, and probably should be, for now, only the USA, and prisoners currently incarcerated. To be expanded later.
  • The colums should be 1) country holding the person (=USA) 2) agency declaring them to be a political prisoner 3) prisoners name 4) link to Prisoner Locator
  • Example: USA / Jericho Movement (+link?) / Leonard Peltier / 89637-132/ ( Martin | talkcontribs 06:41, 8 April 2012 (UTC))
The available citations for the claim that Assange is a 'political prisoner' are an article on the website of, a fringe far-right Buchananite organisation, and a British techonolgy site. Not good enough. Philip Cross (talk) 06:46, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
And when you get to decide what citations are good enough, you have complete control. And THAT is certainly not "good enough". ScuzzaMan (talk) 10:29, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Most of the accusations against states that they are holding certain people as "political prisoners" or "prisoners of conscience" are "conspiracy theories". Political prisoner is an infinitely flexible word used by advocacy groups to pressure governments; there are no objective criteria for the title. The person does not have to be charged or accused of a political offense specifically, or have to have committed a crime in a "police state" as you say; just some group or individual has to consider politics the real motive for the detainment. The listing of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the first list in the tables, is extremely suspect by any objective criteria, as he is not being held for any political action, but is living under Witness Protection Program-like conditions because of the threat of fanatical nationalists that would spirit him out of the country. Nonetheless, because some political groups have created for him the nonsensical but repeated-enough ready-made meme for the media ("the world's youngest political prisoner" (which surely is not true with his age now anyway)), he is listed.
If we want to tighten up the criteria so that Assange, or Bradley Manning in a similar vein, is excluded, then that is acceptable, but the criteria have to be consistent. Actually, since so many groups pump out the title to so many current prisoners with such regularity, we should reconsider keeping such an arbitrary list of current political prisoners, and instead focus in this article on widely-agreed upon historical political prisoners who have had notable impact, in prose form. Quigley (talk) 02:06, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Nate Silver of the New York Times has written that: "The handling of [Assange's] case has been highly irregular from the start, in ways that would seem to make clear that the motivation for bringing the charges is political. . . . [T]he fact that the charges are (apparently) politically motivated is indeed a reason to regard them skeptically, and they make it less likely — perhaps much less likely — that Mr. Assange is guilty of them." (Silver, Nate (2010-12-15) A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange, New York Times). Sounds like a political prisoner to me.

"Irregular" would be the hallmark of a political prisoner. Although political prosecutions can be seen as all too regular, in the sense of predictable. The underlying issues are "conflict of interest" and "abuse of power" by the "powers that be", who act as though anything that threatens their existence, or constrains their range of action in a novel way, is illegal. The irregular action can be imprisonment, but can be a trial with acquittal, or with a negotiated plea, or an arrest can be political even with s release and no charge or with charge and no prosecution. Stopping journalists on rentry to the USA can be politically motivated; as can be placement on a watch list, or a no-fly list; or having funds frozen. Even a "show of force" can be "ierregular" as when the local Industrial Development corporation asks the sheriff to send deputies because some 99%ers are going to object to tax abatement for a local developer. The proper response is not suppression of attendees by the Sheriff's Department, but either allow engagement or close the meeting to the public, and eliminate the patina of legitimacy. ( Martin | talkcontribs 20:53, 24 April 2012 (UTC))
Another situation is where a person is on an "enemies list", and then is arrested. Any arrest under those conditions is suspect. The more difficult case, is where someone exits his normal job description to designate some group as a target, and a member of that group is arrested (or bombed). The propriety of that designation would need to be looked at. I am thinking of Frank Rizzo and Move, in Philadelphia, as the example.( Martin | talkcontribs 20:53, 24 April 2012 (UTC))

Recent contentious editing[edit]

I have some concerns regarding the removal of sourced statements without clear consensus. I would also consider this edit summary to be highly misleading:

brenneman 01:18, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

I also now note the earlier edit with edit summary "unsourced and dubious claims" that has sources from both aljazeera and Glenn Greenwald at Salon (magazine). Removeal of sourced material should always be done with due deliberation, in particular when the sources are generally regarded as reliable. I'd like to propose any further edits of this nature to be more collaborative and come to the talk page first, and to further request that more informative edit summaries be used. Do these seem reasonable enough requests?
brenneman 01:43, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
This edit is more of the same, and even uses rollback (or undo, or whatever. you know which I mean). This is really not cool. Is there no way to convinvce people to stop reverting in this manner? - brenneman 05:07, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry but just because you want a POV doesn't mean it should be in the article. Fact is none of the sources state that he (Bradley Manning) is "political prisoner". Using the sources that don't even state that he is a "political prisoner" is POV-pushing and an assumption. Bidgee (talk) 05:39, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
It's quite poor to begin discussion with me in that manner, by presuming that I am unreasonably biased. When sourced material is added to the article, it's best practice to have full and frank discussion on the talk page as to what any problems are with the edit. Incorrect or incomplete edit summaries, as well as the use of automated reverts, are not conducive to an atmosphere of collaborative editing.
The world doesn't end if you spend the ten minutes it takes to just talk about it reasonably on the talk page. It's not "MaRGE sux POENIS" on the biography of a living person, it's a sourced edit. Don't edit war over it.
brenneman 11:12, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm going by your comments on the content and the sources used, Fact is I don't have a POV on the subject and checking the sources with care. Also just because its sources doesn't mean its removal should be discussed first.
I didn't use the Rollback function so stating that I use an automated revert is untrue and misleading. Bidgee (talk) 11:34, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
As long as reliable sources do not say that he is a political prisoner this has room in this article (and also see what I said above, this list of political prisoners is not benefiting the article at all). The reliable sources you quote above establish that Bradley Manning has been called a political prisoner by Julian Assange or by Glenn Gleewald or other individuals or during demonstrations of supporters. But these claims - in particular given the context in which they were made - do not make Bradley Manning a political prisoner. If Amnesty International and major mainstream news outlets begin to call Bradley Manning a political prisoner we could consider including him here.
And yes, I will continue to use informative edit summaries that summarize the problems with the edits that I revert. If there is vandalism, I will call it vandalism. And if a bogus source such as [2] is used for claims that are not made in the source I will continue to call it dubious and unreliable. In a nutshell, your request is very unreasonable. Cheers, Stepopen (talk) 05:43, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
The diff that I have linked above shows an edit that removed a sourced items while it has the edit summary "unsourced." There is a source, and the source has that it has been claimed that Manning is a political prisoner. You can't simply remove it because you don't like it. Is it a strong claim in the source? No. But you need to defend the argument (as you've done above) on the talk page, and you've got to use an appropriate edit summary when doing so. - brenneman 10:25, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
The claims in the article were not supported by this source - period. Just compare the text in the article with the Aljazeera source or the Salon opinion piece. Stepopen (talk) 10:36, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Argh. I Must not be making myself very clear. It was terribly sourced, yes, perhaps even appallingly sourced. But you called it "unsourced" and you removed it. You need to use the talk page more, I'm saying. You need to use better edit summaries, I'm saying. Notice I'm not saying that you shouldn't have done the actual edit? Yes, I'd like further edits of this sort to come to the talk page first, but if you'd have made that same dit with a meaningful edit summary and then came here and opened a talk page section that would have been cool.
Edit warring is not cool. People are doing "brute force" editing and they need to stop doing that.
brenneman 11:12, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Just because it may have cited source(s) does not mean it cites the reason why it should be included which is what those sources were, they failed to state that he is/was a political prisoner and all they states was just opinions from other people in which does not make it reliable even if the organisation itself is notable. So in-turn it was "unsourced". The only editors who were doing "brute force editing" was the SPA's. Bidgee (talk) 11:29, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
If the ONLY people edit warring were those who were very new to Wikipedia, then the article would have their edits in it. More experienced editors (who ought to know better) continue to use reverts instead of talking about it. And seem remarkably resistant to feedback on this editing, I might add.
  • New editors need to be treated with patience. It creates a better atmosphere for editing.
  • Generally: Sourced edits, even badly sourced ones, merit greater discussion when removing.
  • Specific to this page and right now: Do not removed sourced material without explaining why on the talk page.
That last line was speaking in an official tone, and will soon be accompanied by user talk page messages.
brenneman 03:51, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Back to discussion of the sources and inclusion criteria[edit]

"Some understand the term political prisoner narrowly, equating it with the term prisoner of conscience (POC). Amnesty International campaigns for the release of prisoners of conscience, which include both political prisoners as well as those imprisoned for their religious or philosophical beliefs. To reduce controversy, and as a matter of principle, the organization's policy applies only to prisoners who have not committed or advocated violence. Thus, there are political prisoners who do not fit the narrower criteria for POCs."

You'd better get rid of this part of the article then, and make sure that you recycle your bs and sudden standard of having to have Amnesty International vet their status. I'm going to keep posting this. I have it saved, it takes me no more than thirty seconds to post it. Every time you delete it, I'll come back with another link that terms him a political prisoner, a term which in the very article itself is defined as ambiguous and that does not require certification by Amnesty Intgernatonal as if they were the UN. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 05:48, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

The sources you presented so far are an article that does not even mention that Bradley is considered a political prisoner (or something similar), an Aljazeera article that only establishes that Julian Assange has called him a political prisoner, a blog post and an opinion piece. That is not even remotely enough to include him in this list (not that we should have this list to begin with). I see that you are new. It would help if you could familiarize yourself with WP:RS, WP:V and WP:NPOV. Stepopen (talk) 05:56, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Odd, when you begin to decide what sources are legitimate and which are not, then what's the point? Greenwald's reporting is based on an interview with an official at quantico prison. There is nothing in this article that claims that certain standards must be met before calling someone a political prisoner. Rather, its quite clear that the designation is a statement of opinion in the first place. The article makes that perfectly clear. It seems that the only political prisoners allowed here, are political prisoners in states that have poor ties with the US. Is that just a coincidence? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 06:05, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

No, It is clear what a reliable, verifiable and NPOV source is when you read Wikipedia's policies. Julian Assange's and Glenn Greenwald's opinion is just that, a personal point of view (fails WP:NPOV). UN stating that he is a "political prisoner" would have far more weight then an opinion piece. Bidgee (talk) 06:21, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Greenwald's article wan't an "opinion" piece. It was a factual article based on interviews with people who know the facts of Manning's confinement, including the Lieutenant in charge "who confirmed much of what they conveyed." He wasn't just spouting off. Far from it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
It is an opinion article, as are the new sources which were re-added onto are again opinion pieces and blogs. If you have a sources from the main stream media (NY Times, Daily Mail, CNN or even if the UN [I'm sure they would have something to say if the allegedly being political prisoner is true] has said anything). We have to be careful not to cite peoples opinions on the matter as it is not a neutral point of view. Bidgee (talk) 00:39, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
All of the so-called political prisoners on this page are termed as such because of someone's opinion. Political prisoner is a political term. Mainstream media simply report on those opinions. That includes Al Jazeera vis-à-vis Bradley Manning. Looking at the other entries, Bradley Manning's is one of the more better sourced because the sources actually use the term "political prisoner", whereas many entries do not, and thus may be termed original research. I will remove such entries, starting with the current ones, because this page is a mess. Quigley (talk) 01:05, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Since only two entries made the cut, I have included them in the section that defines the term where they are examples of novel uses of the term. The 'current examples' section was removed altogether, since it is just an endless source of controversy and a magnet for people with political agendas. It is easier and better to write about the historical examples, of which we have many, anyway. Quigley (talk) 01:38, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

You're obviously deleting without even reading the sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 00:58, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

I would like to reinsert my entry on Bradley Manning. Will I be blocked if I do so? Cecilex (talk) 01:10, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes; since someone is actively objecting, we must resolve the issue by discussion. Quigley (talk) 01:14, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Other entries in the list[edit]

Now that it had quieted down a bit, I'm looking at the other entries in the list to see if they are well sourced.

  • Oscar Elías Biscet - One reference does not work, and does the phrase "political prisoner" even appear in it?
  • Sanjar Umarov - Source does say he's a political prisoner?
  • Adolfo Fernandez Sainz - No reference on this page, ref on article page says he's a "prisoner of concseince." Except they spelled it right. Are we suggesting then that political prisoner is the superset, and that all POCs merit inclusion?
  • Arnaldo Otegi - None of the references provided name him as a political prisoner.

Unless there is some clear inclusion criteria that I'm missing, things do not appear to be being handled even-handed-ly. Has more consideration not been given to removing the whole "list" aspect of this article? Two editors at the start of this thread supported that move.
Aaron Brenneman (talk) 11:29, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

My initial reason for trying to include Bradley Manning was to draw attention to the conditions under which he is incarcerated. Several news agencies have now commented on this, including the Daily Beast and Reuters. The article I included from Greenwald was based on an interview with an official at the Quantico Brig, though there was some opinion, the facts of the case are not in dispute by military officials.
It is odd that only Chinese and Cuban dissidents are allowed to be posted here. If its a choice of having a totally biased page which can't be altered because altering it is considered vandalism, and not having a page dedicated at all, or having a page with no names on it, then I would go with one of the latter two choices.
This is frankly absurd. You know, there are times when information is not only objective, but also highly politically charged. When the Pentagon Papers came out, they were quite polemical, many people didn't like the fact that they were leaked, or the information that they provided. That didn't change the fact that the information contained in the papers was sound, and that it showed a series of horrible policy decisions by the US government. This is also one of those cases. If Wikipedia can't be a venue for controversial information, and if one group of editors can hold a page hostage, using WIkipedia's rules to create an incredibly biased, but unalterable entry, then you're doing something wrong. I don't appreciate having my account suspended for trying to include verifiable information. The reason I posted so many edits was that each time I posted an edit, I was including yet another citation to counter the bs criticisms used by the editors monopolizing this page. I erroneously believed that their criticism were sparked by a genuine concern about citations, and I created a pretty stable case, with at least four citations that spoke to every claim in the four-five sentence entry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 19:06, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it's obvious from the article's history that newer editors were trying quite hard to conform to the established standard, and I believe that we (collectively) should have done much more discussion of the issue and much less reversion and blocking. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 01:47, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Fact is I think the while article needs to be looked at, if the sources are contain POV, don't state what its citing or its just cited to make it looked source then it needs to go. I'll have a look at them further when I have more time to study them. And if people think that I don't care about Bradley Manning, well you are wrong since I do not like how he is being held for something which is alleged not proven in a fair court of law but my opinion isn't nor does it belong on Wikipedia nor the articles. Bidgee (talk) 00:52, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
You've proven none of these things. YOur post verge on sheer mendacity. I think you're a liar, a perception that will linger until you make an argument for each citation. I will remove any citation you find to be invalid, but you don't even seem to understand wikipedia's rules, much less what "opinion" is. Does the Chinese government press have to sign off on one of these political prisoners before you'll agree to it? Cuba? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 01:03, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Back to manning[edit]

I just added Bradley Manning again. I think this is a fair assessment of the conditions of his imprisonment. Under the rubric of the article's definition of a political prisoner, Manning seems to fit the criteria, and there are other sources that attest to this opinion. The conditions of his imprisonment are verified by his lawyer, an article in the Daily Beast and by an interview with an official at Quantico military prison. The fact that these are illegal, and that a military judicial body is trying to intervene unsuccessfully on Manning's behalf are from Manning's lawyer, Lt. Colonel David Coombs.

If you have any problems with the way that this entry is presented or sourced, please discuss them with me. I will be happy to hear your case and change things accordingly if your argument is sound. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 00:32, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Well? What am I supposed to do here? I made an argument, but someone keeps deleting the entry almost as soon as I post it... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cecilex (talkcontribs) 00:38, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
The place to work this out is on the talk page, not by edit warring. You are quite new, and it appears to me that you're simply dishing out what you get. But you'll end up blocked again, so please do stop. I understand your frustration, as there appears to be clear inconsistancy in the way that your entries are being handled, but patience is a virtue. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 01:22, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

My citations make a good argument to include Manning on the list of prisoners held without trial.

Here is the first citation from Australia’s public media corporation, it establishes why he has been put in jail, which was a political act from Manning's point of view and that of others: [3]

Here is the second link, from Glenn Greenwald on Salon. Greenwald often does original reporting, this is such a piece of original reporting, based entirely on an interview with a public relations official at Quantico Brig [4]

Here is an assertion from Julian Assange that Manning is a political prisoner. [5]

Here is a round up of opinions on Manning, including that of Greenwald, and another commentary by Lew Rockwell that many “official dissidents” from other countries are accused of similar crimes: [6]

Another article detailing the harsh conditions under which Manning is kept, with an interview with his lawyer and a claim that the conditions of his imprisonment, in which no trial date has been set after seven months, are harsher than other military prisoners kept for similar crimes. This shows discriminatory treatment. [7]

Finally, this is from the blog of Manning’s defense counsel, David Coombs, who makes the argument that these conditions are illegal, and that military legal organizations have attempted unsuccessfully to address them. This shows extra legal treatment. [8]

Finally, concerning the editors that reverted the entry over and over again. There is no way to engage them in a conversation about any of these issues, because its obvious that they look at none of the citations. They simply said no, abusing their authority. I tried various times to discuss the issue with them, and also addressed their concerns by amplifying my citations when I re-posted. There should be some kind of discipline for them, for a limited amount of time, as they are abusing the rules and forcing other editors into situations where they have to break the rules to use Wikipedia. Cecilex (talk) 04:36, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

As per the link I've provided in the section below, that editor was blocked shortly to stop the disruption, and the discussion was clear that their behaviour was "not ideal." But we don't do punative actions, as the actual edits are all that are considered important.
Aaron Brenneman (talk) 06:06, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Just a note on the point above, that "reliable sources" are required before that particular editor will accept any addition to the list of Political Prisoners. The problem is that none of the sources quoted in reference to current entries on the list are reliable. They're nearly all, for example, guilty of reporting that there really were WMD's in Iraq. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist is another man's political prisoner. Unless there really is some "Neutral Point of View" whereby the criteria for inclusion are openly listed and debated, then the suspicion remains that the biggest problem attending to the addition of Bradley E Manning to the list of Political Prisoners is that the country imprisoning him is the United States of America. As I am sure hardly needs pointing out, that does little to foster the appearance of Wikipedia as having a "Neutral Point of View". Perhaps it would be more appropriate simply to admit that the definition is inherently biased by ones nationality, political position and worldview, and to simply report that many people around the world do consider Bradley E Manning to BE a Political Prisoner? That, at least, has the advantage of being an actual neutral statement of fact. ScuzzaMan (talk) 09:37, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

To take a step back, what does featuring Manning do to help this article? Some people would call him a martyr, but it is clear that he should not be featured on that article. Quigley (talk) 23:06, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Hardly an appropriate parallel, given that he's not dead, yet. As for "featuring", is it necessary to use such a word? He was merely added to the existing list, not "featured". What his inclusion adds to this article is that many people around the world DO consider him a political prisoner, since he is being denied his Constitutional right to a speedy trial, and many conclude this is being done due to the political ramifications of the crimes of which he is accused. ScuzzaMan (talk) 10:37, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Considering both that Cecelix stated himself that the reason he wanted Manning on this article was to "draw attention to the conditions under which he is incarcerated", and that the list was so selective and subjective when it was still there that every entry was a feature, I would say that "feature" is a good word. Cecelix also complained of the unfairness of the Chinese and Cuban dissidents not being held to the same rigorous standards for inclusion as Manning was, and that was solved by removing the shoddy list. Less controversial and more studied historical examples are now the focus to give the reader a good understanding of the term. By the way, the only person who calls Manning a political prisoner is Julian Assange; the rest of the sources just state the facts of the case which some Wikipedians interpret to be the conditions of a political prisoner. Quigley (talk) 19:58, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

What I find interesting about this whole kerfuffle is that you all were perfectly content having poorly cited and un-cited assertions up, until someone made things "political" by including an American held by the US government. Then the whole world exploded. Asserting that Chinese and Cuban prisoners are political prisoners is perfectly allowable, if worrisome to some. But suggesting that the US has political prisoners represents cause to shut down the whole page. This is transparently biased behavior which has caused me to think twice [in addition to the twice-thinking skepticism I already apply] to anything I read on Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:17, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Page protection[edit]

03:31, 22 December 2010 Mkativerata (talk | contribs | block) changed protection level of Political prisoner [edit=sysop] (expires 03:31, 29 December 2010 (UTC)) [move=sysop] (expires 03:31, 29 December 2010 (UTC)) ‎ (Edit warring / Content dispute: (will manually return to semi-protection at end of week)) (hist | change)
Per the discussion at Administrators' noticeboard this page has been fully protected. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 06:06, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

The page protection has been lifted + a colourful comment[edit]

I am commenting here in an administrative capacity, not an editorial one.* If there are objections to this, if editors feel I'm too close to this please say so now. I of course reserve the right to disagree with whomever says it, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it...

  1. This article has serious issues, serious sourcing issues with respect to living people.
    • I know that this "BLP" thing is sometimes used a bludgeon to stifle dissent... but here we're simply being inconsistent. (I'm referring here to the claim that removal of entries is due to "BLP" concerns...)
    • All entries for whom we do not have a strong source clearly saying they are political prisoners should be removed until inclusion guidelines are worked out.
  2. This article needs some further work on inclusion criteria
    • If editors wanted (for example only) Manning to be included...
    • I call shenanigans on putting a higher standard on those edits than on (for example only) a Cuban dissident's inclusion.
    • All editors are requested to use the talk page as opposed to reverting. Strongly requested.
  3. Finally, the article Prisoner of conscience is substantively similar to this one.
    • That page actually says "The phrase is now widely used in political discussions to describe a political prisoner[s]."
    • It should be merged to this page as a section of its own.
    • The entries on that page's list should again be carefully checked for sourcing.

The items marked in OrangeRed are high priority, and need to be done before more substantive discussion on the other points takes place...
Aaron Brenneman (talk) 03:18, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
* While I personally deprecate this authoritative style of communication, I have received feedback that I should (in earlier posts to this page) have made my admin status clear. So, here it is. Blargh. I feel dirty.

As it has been suggested that I am involved, I've opened the floor for wider intput, see this noticeboard thread. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 03:05, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

I have a problem with this: 'The U.S. Senate, prompted by Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin and Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker, passed a resolution saying Khodorkovsy and Lebedev 'are prisoners who have been denied basic due process rights under international law ***FOR POLITICAL REASONS***.'" ' Where's that from? From here: (with my emphasis added) Perhaps we could have a list of "prisoners who have been denied basic due process rights for political reasons"? Maybe then Manning and Khodorkovsky could share a page on Wikipedia? At some point we must face the political utility of the terms themselves: "political prisoner" and "prisoner of conscience" are both terms that have immense political value and this guarantees that they WILL be misappropriated by the powerful. But if the original list was imperfect, this statement by the US Senate is equally imperfect; they have no particular insight into the reasons for Khodorkovsky's prosecution, they have no evidence that these "political reasons" exist at all. But when the powerful of the United States make the accusation, then that is sufficient. Is THAT what is meant by "A STRONG SOURCE"? Has the editorial conduct of Wikipedia been misappropriated by the powerful already? ScuzzaMan (talk) 21:27, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Well, several things there...
  • With respect to your final comment: It's not helpful. I'd ask that you review the assume good faith page, and try to remember that we're all here because we want a high-quality article. We simply disagree about the way forward in the short term... Please try to comment only on contributions, not contributor's motives.
  • With respect to the substance of your post: If we're going to discuss inclusion criterion (either generally or with respect to a particular person) I think we'd be best off merging "prisoner of conscience" with this page to avoid split/duplicate debate. If no one objects, I'll place the merge tag on that page in a day or two. I'll also post a subpage with draft merged version.
    Aaron Brenneman (talk) 23:24, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Re good faith: point taken. Mea culpa. So, can I suggest that, after the discussion about how difficult to define the terms have become, the article includes the observation that the terms under dispute are of major political advantage depending on who is using them about whom and who believes them about whom, and perhaps we could follow that with a list not only of historical figures that "everyone agrees" on, but a separate list of current, live, disputed, persons? To illustrate the observation in a most pointed, topical fashion? i.e. as examples of that very difficulty, rather than as "authoritative" inclusions? ScuzzaMan (talk) 23:53, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Ok, I'll incorporate that suggestion into the merged draft at Talk:Political prisoner/Merger draft. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 02:36, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Scuzzaman on several points. Most obviously, since the initial introduction of the term "political prisoner" is by nature subjective--and because "official" qualification by politically motivated groups and governments is rather dubious proof of said status--it makes no sense to include some subjectively determined political prisoners, while denying others. I suggest a table that has a list of people widely regarded, in various circles, to be political prisoners. Some sort of introduction which states the very tenuous nature of the term, and stresses its utility in political discourse is absolutely essential. Then people could add political prisoners, so long as they could provide acceptable citations that show that there is some kind of consensus amongst a group somewhere that the person is a political prisoner. That sounds fair to me. That is essentially the situation that existed on this page before, except the unethical control of of certain editors narrowly limited the discourse. Cecilex (talk) 05:22, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Ok, rather than a table (tables are quite hard for newer editors, and should be avoided unless there is a good reason.) how about three sections, "old/historic," "early 2oth," and "current." See Talk:Political_prisoner/Merger_draft#Notable_political_prisoners for an example. Oh, and by putting ":" before your comment to indent it, you indicate to whom you are responding. In multi-thread conversations this is a great aid to being understood.
Aaron Brenneman (talk) 13:50, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

":" Well thanks for the advice. The rough draft looks good as far as I'm concerned. I'm quite happy to provide both sides of the debate. So what happens next? Does somebody go ahead and write and insert it based on that model? Should I do it? Will somebody else? Just wondering how the accountability thing goes....[[]] (talk) 03:02, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

whoops sorry about that...the above was meCecilex (talk) 03:04, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]


  • Merginging of two pages is a normal editorial process, and can be done a number of ways. The only part of the process that is not subject to variation is that the license be honoured, which means that there has to be an easy link from that page to this page after the merger, where every previous user's input get attributed.
  • Most commonly, a merge is proposed on both talk pages, and then there's a lot of talking. IN this case, there's been no mention of this proposed merge on Talk:Prisoner of conscience so that would be where it would start.
  • If you are feeling more confident you can use the "be bolf, revert, discuss cycle" style of editing and
    • Edit the existing article to include the prisoner of conscience material. Save.
    • Redirect the other page here, and the other article's talk will naturally follow.
    • Even if someone reverts it, usually people will talk. And no one better edit war or they get a trout.

Aaron Brenneman (talk) 10:18, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Well, I left a message about merging the two pages at the Prisoners of Conscience talk page. Its been well over a week, with no response. I'm going to go ahead and merge the two pages within the next three days unless I hear a good reason why I shouldn't at either this talk page or the Prisoner of conscience one.. Cecilex (talk) 19:12, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I think that a week is a reasonable amount of time to have waited. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 01:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Do it! —Zujine|talk 20:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Political prisoner and Prisoner of conscience are two different concepts, although with some overlap. What means that there is little reason to merge two pages on topics that are only related, but are not synonymous. Stepopen (talk) 20:43, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

FWIW--I seem to be about four months late to this discussion--I agree with Stepopen. The AI "prisoner of conscience" has become a well-known designation, and it's nice to keep it as a clearly-delineated category, overseen by a specific organization. "Political prisoner" potentially covers a lot more ground. Khazar (talk) 06:03, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

the cuban 5[edit]

Are the cuban 5 political prisoners of the US? Really, as many of Cuba's "political prisoners" have received money from the CIA/NED/CANF/etc, I think we can term the US-imprisoned (for life in some cases) Cuban spies "political prisoners" by the same token, no? (talk) 20:54, 16 February 2011 (UTC)


Please use the "narrow" definition of political prisoners. If you use the broad one, then it would most likely a significant percentage of the prison population. -- (talk) 08:17, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Having tried and failed to get Amnesty interested in a cause, using the information from the article on how AI define political prisoners - they refute the broad definition in the original article. See below:

"Thank you for your e-mail which has been passed on to me by my colleagues. I am sorry for the delayed reply.

Please allow us to clarify our definition of Prisoners of Conscience (POC). Individuals are regarded as POCs for the following reasons: Because of their involvement in non-violent political activities, such as taking part in community development work For belonging to a minority group that is struggling for autonomy After insisting on observing religious practices of which the state does not approve Because of their trade union activities such as taking part in strikes or demonstrations Because they wrote newspaper articles that raised the alarm about human rights violation taking place within their own countries After they refused to perform military service on grounds of conscience When they have resisted using a country’s official language Because a family member is an outspoken opponent of the government

Thus ,a s you can see , I'm afraid that ************** situation does not fall under this definition. The definition from Wikipedia is not the official one from Amnesty International. " — Preceding unsigned comment added by Schapelle (talkcontribs) 15:43, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Political trial[edit]

Some trials are motivated by the desire to entangle a person in the judicial branch, with the intention to impair the person's interactions with the executive branch, or with the public. Law enforcement is not the prospective purpose although it is later used as the justification, as the excuse. Examples of this are many of the Panther trials and the AIM trials. Anyone convicted in such a trial is a political prisoner. Anyone convicted on the basis of evidence fabricated by the government is prima facie a political prisoner, since fraudulent evidence is inconsistent with a motivation of seeking justice. ( Martin | talkcontribs 16:16, 17 April 2012 (UTC))

Here is a quote that demonstrates political (extra-legal, ok illegal) motivation, and therefore, in this case, political arrests, whether or not a trial resulted, and whether or not a conviction resulted: An FBI document released to journalist Richard LaCourse under the FOIA reveals a program which closely parallels that directed against RAM in Philadelphia (see Chapter 5). It recommends that "local police put [AIM] leaders under close scrutiny, and arrest them on every possible charge until they could no longer make bail." This quote can be found the book COINTELLPRO, whose text is online but on a blacklisted site, and the further source is footnoted there. ( Martin | talkcontribs 05:34, 20 April 2012 (UTC))

Hey - he is not a political prisoner[edit]

Although I think that a list of political prisoners can more properly be housed on a separate "list" page, I think a a resolution of who is and who is not a political prisoner is not necessary. One can say simply and objectively "X asserts that Y is a political prisoner". Then the discussion could turn from Who are the Y's to Who are the X's: who are the groups whose designation of status of political prisoner should be included here - where would people, who look at wikipedia for information, look to for this designation? ( Martin | talkcontribs 17:28, 17 April 2012 (UTC))

This would be similar to the approach taken in terrorist organization, but the list should be sortable. ( Martin | talkcontribs 17:30, 17 April 2012 (UTC))

The idea of creating a list page for current and former noteworthy political prisoners could be a good idea, but it would take a lot of work. A user interested in a list like that is going to be looking for individuals of the internationally known status of Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. However, I don't know if it would be right for the editors of Wikipedia to make a judgement on the level of notability. Basically, if the person is notable enough to make the list, then they are on the list, which should just be in alphabetical order. The list could get quite long very quickly and become rather unwieldy.
That said, it is probably still a good idea. Perhaps a table for current prisoners and one for former prisoners would help. The list of former prisoners would naturally have a higher standard of notability. I think that it makes sense for the current article to have a few examples of highly notable people as it does now, and then it could link to the long list page. It isn't a project I could take the lead on right now, but I would support it and contribute to it.
Also, as a side note, I'm going to rearrange the current list on the article to put it in alphabetical order. —Zujine|talk 14:33, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Having only past political prisoners might be ok. Sortable table? ( Martin | talkcontribs 21:23, 24 April 2012 (UTC))

Prisoner of Conscience vs Political Prisoner[edit]

I think that there is a difference:

  • A political prisoner is a subset of a larger group; namely, people that are targeted for hassling by the executive branch of government. The government's motivation is the focus of this classification.
  • A prisoner of conscience is a person who objects to a law, and disobeys it although it may cause him to go to jail. The person's motivation is the focus of this classification.

Once both positions become entrenched, a person will belong to both classes: such as "being a member of the communist party" in 1950 or a muslim in 2010 ( Martin | talkcontribs 21:12, 24 April 2012 (UTC))

Looking over this talk page, I'm seeing plenty of interest in merging. I respect and agree with your distinction, but I don't think it's sharp enough to merit separate articles. "Prisoner of conscience" seems to be a positive alternative to "political prisoner" coined by Amnesty International. I'm proposing a merger. --BDD (talk) 04:37, 10 June 2012 (UTC) ...
Look like splitting hairs, and can be merged.--Inayity (talk) 23:22, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Following the course of previous discussions on this page, I propose merging prisoner of conscience here. It seems to be almost a "content fork" of political prisoner, sort of a positive euphemism. No doubt there will still be cleanup issues to address—in particular, disagreement over whether to include a list of examples. But there's significant overlap between these articles, such that they should be merged. I would suggest a section here explaining Amnesty International's definition of political prisoners (as POCs). --BDD (talk) 04:37, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Mostly oppose - "Prisoner of conscience" as defined by Amnesty International has a very specific and narrow definition that "political prisoner" does not. It's not so much that they overlap as that PoC is a specific subset of political prisoners, defined by one organization. For example, Nelson Mandela was widely considered a political prisoner, including by AI, but the group did not name him a PoC because he advocated violent as well as nonviolent resistance. Bradley Manning has also been widely described as a political prisoner, but not designated a PoC. I think it's useful to have a specific article on this widely-cited concept. I also think it quite likely that merging PoC here would result in the reduction of information we have on the concept--trimming back both its history and the list of current PoCs to give it only due weight.
I'd propose that a better solution here would be to treat PoC as a WP:SPINOFF of PP, which would involve including a brief section here with a "main article" link to the other. Treating them as interchangeable concepts seems to me to create needless confusion. Khazar2 (talk) 05:05, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Here's a good breakdown of the distinction as I've always understood it.[9] A political prisoner is described by Amnesty International as "any prisoner whose case has a significant political element: whether the motivation of the prisoner's acts, the acts themselves, or the motivation of the authorities", while a "prisoner of conscience" is someone imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. Leonard Peltier, for example, meets the former but not the latter, while Aung San Suu Kyi fits both. So I think it's not accurate to say that one is a euphemism for the other or that they can be interchanged; "prisoner of conscience" does have a very specific and unique meaning. Khazar2 (talk) 05:16, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - Since this discussion has now been open for two weeks without further comment, is it fair to close it? Khazar2 (talk) 03:24, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Closing - As no one has responded to my comments since 10 June, I'm going ahead and removing the proposed merge tags for now. Khazar2 (talk) 05:38, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Birtukan Mideksa Political prisoner[edit]

Birtukan Mideksa can we add her as a political prisoner? I would like to see more names included.--Inayity (talk) 23:21, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Political prisoner/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This entire entry 'Political prisoner' is a US government Right Wing diatribe against the Cuban and Chinese governments which are the 2 principle targets in this entry. Shame on Wiki for allowing this online! The whole entry should be deleted immediately. Any objective entry about political prisoners would not solely focus on 2 governments. There are plenty of political prisoners in the world to go around, including many of them made so by US foreign policy. Logannsafi

Last edited at 16:36, 13 September 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 03:11, 30 April 2016 (UTC)