December 2, 2011

President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
His Excellency Nguyên Minh Triêt
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Minister of Public Security
Lt Gen Tran Dai Quang
Ministry of Public Security
44 Yet Kieu Street
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Fax: + 844 3942 0223
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 decision by an appeals court to reduce the sentence of university teacher and Internet writer Pham Minh Hoang.

According to our information, on November 29, 2011, Pham Minh Hoang (pen name Phan Kien Quoc) had his three-year sentence reduced on appeal to 17 months after a hearing at the People’s Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City. He is expected to be released January 12, 2012, after which he will have to serve three years of house arrest. The judge reportedly said that he had taken account of Hoang’s “recognition his errors,” his request for clemency, and his pledge to sever all ties with Viet Tan, an outlawed pro-democracy party.

Pham Minh Hoang, who holds both French and Vietnamese nationality, was arrested in August 2010 and sentenced a year later, after being found guilty of “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s government.” On his blog, he has written about a variety of topics, including freedom of expression, education, the environment, and workers’ rights.

PEN American Center welcomes the reduction of Pham Minh Hoang’s sentence, but continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all those currently 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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