Thongsouk Saysangkhi (sometimes spelt Thongsouk Saysangkhy) was a political prisoner and a former deputy minister of science and technology in the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, a communist political party that has governed Laos since 1975.
A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible for their imprisonment.
The Lao People's Revolutionary Party, formerly the Lao People's Party, is a Marxist–Leninist political party in Laos and has emerged from the Communist Party of Vietnam founded by Hồ Chí Minh in 1930. It has governed in Laos since 1975. The policy-making organs are the Politburo, Secretariat and the Central Committee. A party congress, which elects members to the politburo and central committee, is held every five years. The congress used to also elect a secretariat, but this body was abolished in 1991. As of 2016, 128 of the 132 members of the National Assembly of Laos were from the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, commonly referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest.
In 1990, he was arrested after resigning from the Government and the Party and calling for political and economic change. Also arrested with him were Latsami Khamphoui and Feng Sakchittapong. All three were held without trial for two years, before being sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment.
In his resignation letter to Kaysone Phomvihan, then general secretary of the party's central executive committee and head of state, Thongsouk Saysangkhi said, "I oppose the dictatorial power of personal cliques, which are precisely what the Party and the State apparat are; and I am demanding the holding of free elections, the putting into practice of popular liberties and democracy, and the existence of democratic institutions opposed to the maintenance of a system of communist feudalism and Politburo dynastism. ... The history of humankind has now confirmed that a single-party system relying exclusively on coercion and deception is incapable of ever bringing prosperity and happiness to our people."
According to Amnesty International, Thongsouk Saysangkhi died in prison in February 1998. Amnesty says it was alerted to the poor prison conditions and Thongsouk Saysangkhi's poor state of health, but was told by Lao authorities that all three were well.
Amnesty International is a London-based non-governmental organization focused on human rights. The organization says it has more than seven million members and supporters around the world.
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