Crackdown on Dissidents
International PEN is alarmed about an apparent crackdown on dissent in Vietnam, in which a number of writers have been arrested in recent weeks. This brings the total number of writers detained in Vietnam to 16. PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained in Vietnam for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression, as guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.
According to PEN’s information, a number of writers are among those to have been arrested as part of a crackdown on peaceful protests carried out by dissidents in recent weeks. The arrests are apparently part of a wider pattern of harassment and arrest by Vietnamese authorities of independent journalists, human rights activists, cyber dissidents, religious freedom advocates, and farmers protesting confiscation of their land.
Those currently detained or under heavy surveillance include:
- Nguyen Van Hai (aka Nguyen Hoang Hai/Dieu Cay): independent journalist and blogger, sentenced on September 10, 2008 to two and a half years’ imprisonment by the Vietnamese People’s Court at Ho Chi Minh city for alleged tax fraud, although he is widely believed to be targeted for his criticism of Vietnamese government policy. He is known for his critical Internet postings calling for greater democracy and human rights in Vietnam and his participation in protests against Chinese foreign policy. Dieu Cay was one of the founding members of the Club of Free Journalists (Cau Lac Bo Nha Bao Tu Do) in 2006.
- Nguyen Xuan Nghia: poet and writer, arrested on September 11, 2008. He is a member of the Hai Phong Association of writers and founding member of the banned democracy movement known as Block 8406, author of several online poems and articles, a recipient of the 2008 Hellman Hammet Award for Free Expression. Xuan Nghia is being held at the B14 labor camp in Ha Dong province, south of Hanoi.
- Le Thi Kim Thu (f): online reporter and photographer, arrested on August 14, 2008, and detained at Hoa Lo detention camp outside Hanoi. She is known for her reports for various overseas Vietnamese media outlets.
- Pham Van Troi: dissident writer and activist, known for his contributions to the underground dissident review Tu Do Dan Chu (Freedom and Democracy). He was arrested on September 10, 2008, and is being detained at the B14 labor camp in Ha Dong province, south of Hanoi.
- Nguyen Van Tuc: farmer, poet and human rights defender, known for his numerous writings on social injustice and satirical poems published on overseas web sites. He was arrested on September 10, 2008 and is being detained at the B14 labor camp in Ha Dong province, south of Hanoi.
- Ngô Quỳnh: student and dissident writer, author of online dissenting articles, including "Viet Nam needs to compile a new History-book" and "Journey to Lang Son’s Dairy," published on overseas web sites. He was arrested on September 10, 2008, and is being detained at the B14 labor camp in Ha Dong province, south of Hanoi.
- Tran Duc Thach: poet, reportedly arrested on September 10, 2008 and released the same day, but remains under heavy surveillance.
- Pham Thanh Nghien (f): Internet writer and independent journalist, arrested on September 11, 2008. She was released later that day, but remained under residential surveillance until her re-arrest on September 17, 2008. She is reportedly being held under Article 88 of the Criminal Code on charges of "propaganda against the state."
Write A Letter
- Expressing alarm at the recent crackdown on dissidents in Vietnam, in which a number of writers have been detained;
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Nguyên Minh Triêt President Socialist Republic of Vietnam
C/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Prime Minister Nguyên Tân Dung 1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street Hanoi Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Lê Doan Hop, Minister of Culture and Information
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Please note that there are no fax numbers available for the Vietnamese authorities, so you may wish to ask the diplomatic representative for Vietnam in your country to forward your appeals. It would also be advantageous to ask your country’s diplomatic representatives in Vietnam to intervene in the case.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after October 15, 2008: ftw [at] pen.org