House arrest

From Academic Kids

In justice and law, house arrest is the situation where a person is confined (by the authorities) to his or her house, possibly with travel allowed but restricted. It is a lenient alternative to prison time.

While house arrest can be applied to common criminal cases, when prison does not seem an appropriate measure while some restrictions of movement are desirable, the term is often applied to the use of house confinement as a measure of repression of authoritarian governments against political dissidents. In that case, typically, the person under house arrest does not have access to means of communication (telephone...), or at least they are censored.

Nowadays, in technologically advanced countries, house arrest is often enforced with the use of an electronic sensor strapped to the offender's ankle, not removable by the subject. If the subject and the sensor venture too far from the home, the violation is recorded and the proper authorities are summoned.


Notable instances


Former President of Algeria deposed by Houari Boumédiènne in 1965, went to exile in 1980.


Pro-democracy activist, has been under house arrest for extended periods.

Former military commander of Burma. He was deposed in 1988 and put under house arrest in 2001.


Former Premier of Cambodia. He was deposed when Vietnam attacked Cambodia in 1978.


People's Republic of China

  • Zhao Ziyang, purged Communist Chinese leader, was put under house arrest for the last 16 years of his life after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. His movements had to be approved by the Communist Party of China's Central Office, which only allowed him to travel quietly to different places inside China and to play golf.
  • Jiang Yanyong, physician who revealed SARS incident in China. He was put under house arrest after request the government to investigate the June 4 Tiananmen incident.


Former President of Egypt. He led a military coup in 1953 and deposed the former King Farouk. He was in turn deposed by Gamal Nasser in 1954.


First President of Indonesia. He was deposed in 1967 by General Suharto,


Former Premier of Iran. Was deposed in 1953.



Former Premier and President of Pakistan. He was deposed in 1977 in a military coup led by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq he was put to trial and hanged later in 1979.


Former President of Tunisia. He was deposed in an military coup in 1987.

United States

  • Riddick Bowe, a former boxing champion, was sentenced to be under brief house arrest after being released from prison.
  • Lionel Tate was sentenced under one-year house arrest under the terms of the plea bargain offered in January 2004.
  • Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months of house arrest following her release from prison on March 4, 2005.


United Kingdom

  • Provision to detain terrorist suspects under house arrest without trial has been made possible by the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005; 10 men are currently (March 2005) under house arrest or other "Control Orders" under the Act [1] (

See also



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