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Political Prisoners by Country 2024

Even though there are a lot of countries that have made efforts to make their justice systems more transparent, the reality is that there are still a lot of political prisoners located all over the world. It is also important to define what is meant by political prisoners. Typically, a political prisoner is someone who has been held unjustly because they are trying to speak out against the government for some reason. According to the government of the United States, it is estimated that there are more than one million political prisoners in the world. It would not be surprising if this number were underestimated, as most countries deny having any political prisoners at all.

Which Country Has the Highest Rate of Imprisonment Overall?

When calculating the number of prisoners in a country, it is typically calculated as the number of prisoners in comparison to the total population. The Seychelles is estimated to have the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, with 799 out of every 100,000 people being imprisoned. The United States actually has the second most prisoners in the world, with an estimated 698 people being imprisoned out of every 100,000 people. Other countries that have a lot of prisoners include the US Virgin Islands, Turkmenistan, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Some countries, such as China, Russia, and North Korea, are notoriously hard to estimate because their numbers cannot be trusted.

What Is the Total Number of Political Prisoners in China?

It is very difficult to estimate the total number of political prisoners in China. China is the most populated country on Earth, and it also has a very oppressive regime. Therefore, it is very hard to figure out how many political prisoners are in China. Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to the Uighur population, which is a segment of the population that has been oppressed in Northwestern China. Even though China has denied falsely imprisoning anyone from this segment of the population, satellite images taken from the area contradict statements from the Chinese government. Furthermore, first-hand accounts from this area also indicate that these individuals are being held as political prisoners.

Does the United States Have Political Prisoners?

Even though it is entirely possible that the United States has political prisoners, the United States has a very transparent justice system with plenty of appeals often. Therefore, it is highly unusual for someone in the United States to be imprisoned unjustly. During World War 2, the United States did have political prisoners. Anyone of Japanese descent on the west coast of the United States was held in a prison camp for the majority of the war. This is widely considered to be a black mark on the history of the United States, and the United States has since apologized for the actions that it took. The United States is widely considered to have a fair and open justice system when compared to the rest of the world.

  • Most data are best available estimates, as many countries decline to release data on the number of political prisoners they detain.

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Approximate #
Additional Details
Saudi Arabia3,000
Amnesty International estimates there may be as many as 3,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
United States100
May be as many as 150.
Hong Kong61
Value does not include prisoners of war in Russo-Ukrainian conflict, whose numbers may be as high as...

What country has the most political prisoners?

The country of Seychelles currently has the highest general rate of imprisonment, but it is believed that China may have the most political prisoners since the country is so heavily populated.

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