Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
While many definitions have been advanced for the term “political prisoners,” there is no internationally recognized designation of who qualifies as a political prisoner and who does not. For some people, all crime and subsequently all prisoners are political, because the reaction of the state to crime is largely in the interests, values, and beliefs of the law-making power and ruling class. For others, however, political offenses are more “absolute” and tend to fall into two main categories: (1) crimes of domination or oppression by the state, and (2) crimes of rebellion, insurgency, social unrest, or civil disobedience against the state by individuals or groups. It is important to note that the term “political prisoner,” whether referring to politically motivated offenders or prisoners of conscience, remains largely unrecognized within the context of the law. Legally, politically motivated offenders in prison and prisoners of conscience are not differentiated from “ordinary” criminal ...