January 24, 2012

President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
His Excellency Nguyên Minh Triêt
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Pham Binh Manh
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Street
Ba Dinh district
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Fax: + 844 3823 1872

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to welcome the release of university teacher and Internet writer Pham Minh Hoang.

According to our information, French-Vietnamese writer Pham Minh Hoang (pen name Phan Kien Quoc) was released from prison on January 13, 2012, upon expiration of his sentence. However, he is still required to serve three years under house arrest. He was originally arrested in August 2010 and, a year later, sentenced to three years in prison and three years of house arrest for “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s government” for his critical online writings. On November 29, 2011, his sentence was reduced on appeal to 17 months.

Pham Minh Hoang covers a variety of social topics on his blog, including freedom of expression, education, the environment, and worker’s rights. He is said to be a member of the banned Viet Tan party.

PEN American Center welcomes the release of Pham Minh Hoang, but continues to call for all restrictions against him to be lifted, as well as for the immediate and unconditional release of all those still detained in Vietnam solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Thank you for your consideration of this crucial matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: H.E. Le Cong Phung
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1233 20th St NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202) 861-0917

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