Political prisoner  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This page Political prisoner is part of the politics series.Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.
Enlarge
This page Political prisoner is part of the politics series.
Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A political prisoner is someone held in prison or otherwise detained, perhaps under house arrest, for his or her involvement in political activity.

"Political" prisoner

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 only applies to prisoners who have not committed or advocated violence. Thus, there are political prisoners who do not fit the narrower criteria for POCs.

In the parlance of many political movements that utilize armed resistance, guerrilla warfare, and other forms of political violence, a political prisoner includes people who are imprisoned because they are awaiting trial for, or have been convicted of, actions which states they oppose deem (accurately or otherwise) terrorism. These movements may consider the actions of political prisoners morally justified against some system of governance, may claim innocence, or have varying understandings of what types of violence are morally and ethically justified. For instance, French anarchist groups typically call the former members of Action Directe held in France political prisoners. While the French government deemed Action Directe illegal, the group fashioned itself as an urban guerilla movement, claiming a legitimate armed struggle. In this sense, "political prisoner" can be used to describe any politically active prisoner who is held in custody for a violent action which supporters deem ethically justified.

Some Template:Who also include all convicted for treason and espionage in the category of political prisoners.

Political prisoners can also be imprisoned with no legal veneer by extrajudicial processes.

However, political prisoners are arrested and tried with a veneer of legality where false criminal charges, manufactured evidence, and unfair trials (kangaroo courts, show trials) are used to disguise the fact that an individual is a political prisoner. This is common in situations which may otherwise be decried nationally and internationally as a human rights violation or suppression of a political dissident. A political prisoner can also be someone that has been denied bail unfairly, denied parole when it would reasonably have been given to a prisoner charged with a comparable crime, or special powers may be invoked by the judiciary. Particularly in this latter situation, whether an individual is regarded as a political prisoner may depend upon subjective political perspective or interpretation of the evidence.

Variants




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Political prisoner" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools