Start 1 - Next 

Setting

The parliamentarians sit on chairs arranged in a hemicycle. The cycle opens to the chair of the president of the assembly who faces the others. When they speak the parliamentarians get up and stand in front of their chairs.

There is a bar chair in one corner of the stage for the narrator. He is dressed casually and talks only to the audience. He is invisible to the men and women on stage. 

Two texts are projected onto the back wall behind the stage. One, in blue letters, quotes from Resolution 1900 "the definition of political prisoner." A few words stand out:

3. The Assembly reaffirms its support for these criteria, summed up as follows:

"A person deprived of his or her personal liberty is to be regarded as a 'political prisoner':

a. if the detention has been imposed in violation of one of the fundamental guarantees set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols (ECHR), in particular freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association;

b. if the detention has been imposed for purely political reasons without connection to any offence;

c. if, for political motives, the length of the detention or its conditions are clearly out of proportion to the offence the person has been found guilty of or is suspected of;

d. if, for political motives, he or she is detained in a discriminatory manner as compared to other persons; or,

e. if the detention is the result of proceedings which were clearly unfair and this appears to be connected with political motives of the authorities." (SG/Inf(2001)34, paragraph 10)

4. Those deprived of their personal liberty for terrorist crimes shall not be considered political prisoners if they have been prosecuted and sentenced for such crimes according to national legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5).

5. The Assembly invites the competent authorities of all the member States of the Council of Europe to reassess the cases of any alleged political prisoners by application of the above-mentioned criteria and to release or retry any such prisoners as appropriate.

Next to this, on the wall above the parliamentarians, is a large screen. There is a slide show of portraits of political prisoners. On the other side of the screen another paragraph is projected on the wall, Amendment 2:

"The Parliamentary Assembly confirms that the interpretation and application of any criteria defining a political prisoner are the exclusive competence of the European Court of Human Rights, which is the only authority to assess violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, as stipulated in the European Convention for Human Rights and its Protocols."

 Start 1 - Next