Lao Protest Villager Freed, 11 Still Held

Lao authorities have released a villager held since 2017 with a group arrested for protesting the loss of land awarded by the government to a Vietnamese rubber company, sources in the communist Southeast Asian state said. Phonesawai, the fourth villager of the group to be released, was freed without official explanation on Jan. 6, a villager in Sekong province told RFA’s Lao Service, speaking on condition of anonymity. Three other villagers from the group were released in 2018. Eleven others remain in detention, with another reported to have died in custody last year.

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