Get your free chapter
In ePUB or Kindle-format


Posts Tagged ‘political prisoners’

Political prisoners

The definition of political prisoners refers to the fact that these prisoners are put away by countries for non-judicial reasons. Countries that incarcerate political prisoners use every trick to label them as criminals. These countries do this to get a good image, internal as well as abroad. They think that if the law and a judge were involved, this qualifies them to be just and civilized states. For multinationals it’s an excuse to locate themselves in these countries. And for other countries to give development aid. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International must expose these practices. It’s very important to stay alert if it comes to criminal rulings and the misconduct of due process.

A clear standard

To be able to recognize political prisoners, political and legal standards are required that go beyond common law and even beyond the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Such standards are still missing. The 10th of December is the day on which worldwide human rights are celebrated. This date is selected by the United Nations to commemorate the acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. It’s about time that the United Nations establishes a clear standard for political prisoners and advocates it to the world. This perhaps could lead to the accentuation of the Universal Declaration, which by the way is overdue for more than just one article.

Bert Breij, Amsterdam

Pollsmoor Prison

breda photo

While studying at the University of Cape Town, Mikhael Subotzky (South Africa, 1981) first visited the Pollsmoor Prison, infamous for its degrading conditions. Subotzky quickly familiarized himself with the prisoners. He got to know them through conversations, and gave them lessons in photography. These visits resulted in the series Die Vier Hoeke (prisoners’ slang for the four corners of a prison). In April 2005, on South African Independence Day, he exhibited this series inside the Pollsmoor Prison—a unique event, as never before had the prison been used as the location for an exhibition.

This project was followed by a more extensive investigation of the South African prison system. High crime rates characterize today’s South African society. Prisoners find themselves limited in their most fundamental rights—a sensitive issue, in a country that only recently abolished the segregation laws of the apartheid system.

The pictures can be seen at the Breda Photo 2012 festival, Breda, the Netherlands, from today until the 21st of October.
(Text: BredaPhoto; pictures: Mikhael Subotzky; overall picture: Hannie Mommers)

More information: wikipedia




As this book is not an Amnesty International publication, the organisation bears no responsibility for it. Nor is it the result of an initiative by Amnesty International and we are very much aware that this book could lead to many a repercussion and discussion. If that is indeed the case, we will be more than satisfied.

Get your free chapter