New York, NY, June 22, 2007—PEN American Center welcomes the early release on June 9, 2007 of Vietnamese journalist Nguyen Vu Binh. 

Nguyen, a proponent of political reform and a critic of government policy, worked for Tap Chi Cong (Journal of Communism), the official publication of the Communist Party of Vietnam. He left his post in January 2001 to form the independent Liberal Democratic Party and was also a leading member of the Democracy Club for Vietnam.

Nguyen Vu Binh was jailed on September 25, 2002 following the online publication of one of his critical essays, “Some Thoughts on the China-Vietnam Border Agreement.” On December 31, 2003, following a three-hour trial before the Hanoi People’s Court, he was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for his critical writings.

Nguyen was released from Nam Ha prison under a presidential amnesty in advance of President Nguyên Minh Triêt’s visit to the United States, the first visit by a Vietnamese head of state since the Vietnam War ended 32 years ago. He is now living under strict house arrest and will continue to do so during a three-year probationary detention.

PEN applauds Nguyen Vu Binh’s release but calls on the Vietnamese government to lift his house arrest and to release other Vietnamese writers and dissidents who have been imprisoned in violation of their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105