The United Nations cultural organization has appealed for the release of two political prisoners, one a former Lao government minister and the other a researcher in Burma.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a statement that 63-year-old Latsami Khamphoui, a former deputy economy minister, has been imprisoned in Laos since 1990 under very harsh conditions.
UNESCO said he was imprisoned for preparing a rebellion and propaganda against the government. He has served 13 years of his sentence and is said to be in poor health.
The organization also appealed for clemency for Khin Zaw Win, a 52-year-old dentist and researcher who received a 15-year sentence after he was arrested in 1994 at the Rangoon airport on his way to Singapore.
Burma's military government says he was carrying documents about the National League for Democracy party, founded by Aung San Suu Kyi.
UNESCO said he is suffering from several medical problems exacerbated by harsh conditions and insufficient medical care.
Information for this report is provided by AFP.