For current political commentary, see the daily political notes.
RMS' Bio | The GNU Project
This page lists countries that regularly apply surprising repressive laws to visiting foreigners.
We do not try to mention all the repressive regimes that punish people for criticizing the regime in a serious way. There are too many of those to mention here, and you're not likely to do that without thinking about it.
This page was not made through a systematic study. Some countries not listed may be worse than some countries that are listed.
Why risk a visit to these countries? Why spend any of your money there? Stay away!
China is disappearing labor-activist students.
Reportedly just being in a place where they hand out leaflets can get you arrested.
Human rights activist Huang Qi is dying in Chinese prison, denied medical care. His grandmother campaigned to free him, and she has now been jailed after arriving in Beijing to appeal to officials to release him, and has been held incommunicado.
The United Arab Emirates:
Matthew Hedges visited Dubai for two weeks and was then arrested and charged with spying. He has been kept in solitary for 5 months and is now being tried, effectively without a lawyer.
My guess is that some of the questions he asked for academic purposes were somehow sensitive to the rulers of Dubai, and they reacted in typical Dubai fashion.
He will have to face a bogus trial represented by a lawyer he cannot communicate with.
Dubai has accused a tourist of "public indecency" after his hand brushed another man's hip in a bar.
The court changed his hearing date, didn't tell him, and sentenced him to 30 days in jail for not being clairvoyant. Evidently, Dubai is run by clowns and lunatics.
One day later, the ruler of Dubai released him. I am glad he did this, but you should still stay away from Dubai.
A Danish woman accepted a complimentary glass of wine on an Emirates flight to Dubai. On account of this, she has been jailed there for a year awaiting trial.
Dubai dropped charges against Ellie Holman, and allowed her to leave.
Aside from great stress, the experience cost her tens of thousands of dollars. Why take a crazy risk? Stay away!
Holding Hands, Drinking Wine and Other Ways to Go to Jail in Dubai. Also: getting raped, being pregnant, or giving someone the finger.
jails people for gestures such as giving someone the finger.
People passing through Dubai airport are imprisoned for having microscopic amounts of marijuana in their pockets or even on the soles of their shoes.
A princess from Dubai planned for seven years how to escape her life of captivity. The plan almost succeeded, but commandos grabbed her from a yacht when she had almost reached India. One must suppose that the commandos were sent by her father, the emir.
No one has heard from her since, and she might have been killed, or killed herself rather than be captured. Or she may be imprisoned in permenant solitary confinement (see Princess, by Jean Sasson, for another instance of this).
A visitor from Britain in the UAE went to a football match in which Qatar was playing Iraq. He put on a shirt that supported Qatar, and was arrested for it.
Ali Issa Ahmad says that he was stabbed by thugs and imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates, and the thugs beat him and knocked out one of his teeth. His wounds substantiate the claim.
The UAE repression officials claim he is not being prosecuted for wearing a Qatar shirt, but I wouldn't believe a word they say.
I hope he will not be forcibly sent back to the UAE.
Hazem Hamouda was imprisoned without charges in Egypt for 400 days.
When he was ordered released from prison, thugs grabbed him and put him in a cell again. Then the authorities took his papers, and told them he couldn't leave without those papers.
Egyptian officials are frothing at the mouth with fanatical prudery. Since they can't jail the people who made a nude video on top of the Great Pyramid, they want to jail everyone who helped them make the climb.
Whenever prudery takes itself seriously, it threatens repression.
An Egyptian is being prosecuted for saying that the water in the Nile is not safe to drink.
I am sure that statement is true, but it is no shame to Egypt. How could any large river that flows past cities be safe to drink from?
What is a shame to Egypt is that it prosecutes people for stating unpleasant facts.
Egypt is arresting people and disappearing them; often that means killing them.
Egyptian TV hostess Doaa Salah has been sentenced to three years in prison for discussing the possibility of single women's having babies.
British Woman Languishes in Egyptia Jail for Carrying Painkillers.
Egypt put 500 protesters on trial and sentenced most of them to life in prison. 52 of them were released after 4 years waiting in prison.
Egyptian thugs arrested dozens of people at a concert, making silly charges that are a front for "being homosexual."
It is part of the increasing general repression directed at gays in Egypt.
Amal Fathy posted that she would leave Egypt because of sexual harassment. She was arrested for it.
A political trial in Egypt sentenced hundreds of protesters to prison and 75 to execution.
Amal Fathy posted a video criticizing sexual harassment she experienced at a bank in Egypt. She received an absurd assortment of criminal charges and has now been sentenced to two years in prison.
For your own safety, stay away from Egypt. Spend your money on some other country.
Anything that is exposed to the view of thousands of people is no secret.
Why risk visiting a country that arrests people for absurd reasons?
A Pakistani man has been sentenced to death for a statement that supposedly insulted Muhammad on facebook.
Religious fanatics in Pakistan protested to demand explicit repression of minority Muslim sects, effectively barring them from public office. The protests were so big that the government gave in.
Pakistan has bowed to fanatical Muslims by stopping Asia Bibi from leaving the country. This will give the fanatics what they demand: a chance to murder her.
Turkish football fans are accused of being "Gülenists" because they carried a poster from the film, Rocky.
People in Turkey have been threatened with prosecution for repeating rumors
Turkey has laws that make insults a crime.
Defaming women in general is also a crime.
In Turkey, even laughing at politicians can be a crime.
A court released the head of Amnesty International Turkey until his trial for "terrorism", but he was arrested again a little while after.
Journalists from the former Turkish newspaper Zaman have been sentenced to 8 years in prison for "terrorism".
In Thailand, it's not just criticizing the current king that might lead the generals to put you in prison. Simply doubting stories told about a king that lived 400 years ago is enough to send them on a rampage.
And even if you did this outside Thailand, you're not safe.
Hakeem al-Araibi condemned Bahrain's repression 2011, and was tortured for it. He fled to Australia. Now Thailand has grabbed him and is determined to send him to Bahrain for more torture.
Copyright (c) 2017-2019 Richard Stallman Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire page are permitted provided this notice is preserved.