MP raises campaigners' hopes

PUBLISHED: 12:14 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 23:03 15 June 2010

WEST Dorset MP Oliver Letwin has agreed to help two Laotian prisoners of conscience.

WEST Dorset MP Oliver Letwin has agreed to help two Laotian prisoners of conscience. Thao Moua and Pa Fue Khang were arrested in 2003 for helping two European journalists to research an article on the ill-treatment of Hmong people. Amnesty International believes that they did not receive a fair trial, in line with international standards, and that they are being treated harshly because they are ethnic Hmong.Mr Letwin met with two members from Amnesty International's Lyme Regis group last Friday at the Alexandra Hotel. He told Ann Boothroyd and Tilly Laven‡s that he would raise their case in Parliament. He had previously contacted the Foreign Office about the plight of the two men and the British ambassador discussed their situation with a top official in Laos. As a result of worldwide protests at the time of the trial, the French and Belgian journalists were allowed to return to their countries. Thao Moua and Pa Fue Khang received sentences of 12 and 15 years respectively. "We are so pleased that Mr Letwin has taken an interest in Thao Moua and Pa Fue Khang, and we are hopeful that they may be released," Ann told the Herald.For more information about the Lyme Regis group, call (01297) 442247.

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