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Writers and Activists Dinh Dang Dinh and Nguyen Huu Cau Released Under an Amnesty, Nguyen Van Ly Remains Imprisoned

PEN welcomes the release of blogger Dinh Dang Dinh and writer and activist Nguyen Huu Cau on March 21, 2014, under an amnesty. PEN continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a state party. PEN reiterates its call made on behalf of poet, essayist, scholar, and Catholic priest Father Nguyen Van Ly, who continues to serve a lengthy prison sentence, and is seriously ill.

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Background Information

Father Nguyen Van Ly, 67, a Catholic priest and co-editor of the underground online magazine Tu do Ngôn luan (Free Speech), was arrested on February 19, 2007, and sentenced to eight years in prison on March 30, 2007, for "Conducting propaganda against the State." Nguyen Van Ly is a leading member of the pro-democracy movement "Bloc 8406." He was previously detained from 1977-1978 and again from 1983-1992 for his activism in support of freedom of expression and religion. He was sentenced again in October 2001 to 15 years in prison for his online publication of an essay on human rights violations in Vietnam, before being released under amnesty in February 2005. On March 30, 2007, a People’s Court in Hue sentenced him to “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 88-1 (c) of the Criminal Code. On November 14, 2009, he reportedly suffered a stroke in prison. Nguyen Van Ly was granted provisional release so that he could seek medical treatment unavailable in prison on March 15, 2010, but was returned to a labor camp in Ha Nam province on July 25, 2011. In September 2010 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for his immediate and unconditional release.

On August 9, 2012, Dinh Dang Dinh, 51, (pen name: Van Nguyen) was sentenced by the Dak Nong province People Court to six years in prison under Article 88-1 (c) of the Criminal Code for “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” Defending himself at the half-day closed trial, he pleaded not guilty. His sentence was upheld on appeal at a 45-minute hearing on November 21, 2012. The charges were brought against him after he published articles tackling corruption and environmental issues, deemed as anti-government on his blog. Dinh is reported to have undergone an operation for liver and stomach cancer in November 2013.

Nguyen Huu Cau, 68, is a poet, songwriter, human rights defender, and anti-corruption activist. According to PEN's information, he was arrested at his residence by public security police of Kien Giang province on October 9, 1982, for authoring an "incriminating" manuscript of songs and poems that implicated members of the ruling Communist Party in corruption. On the backs of the pages in his original book, Nguyen Huu Cau noted allegations of rape and bribery committed by two high level officers. The original manuscript was not used as evidence in the trial, in order to protect the two officers concerned. On May 23, 1983, he was sentenced to death for “sabotage,” which after an appeal was commuted to life imprisonment.

Click Here to Read PEN's Letter of Appeal

Write a Letter

  • Welcoming the release of writers and activists Dinh Dang Dinh and Nguyen Huu Cau under an amnesty;
  • Reiterating serious concern for the health of Nguyen Van Ly and urging that he is given full access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those writers and activists imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression in accordance with Article 19 of the ICCPR, to which Vietnam is state party.

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency Truong Tan Sang
President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Hung Vuong street
Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
Vietnam

Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung
Prime Minister
1 Hoang Hoa Tham street
Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
Vietnam
Fax: +84 80 44130/ +84 80 44940
    
Mr. Phan Binh Minh
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam steet
Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
Vietnam
Fax: +844 3823 1872
Email: bc.mfa@mofa.gov.vn

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