International PEN is seriously concerned  for the well-being of Bui Kim Thành, Internet writer, dissident, and lawyer, who has reportedly been held in psychiatric detention since March 6, 2008, without any medical basis. PEN fears that Bui Kim Thành may be held for her writings and activism and, if so, calls for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.

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Free expression in Vietnam
Information on Vietnam

Background Information

Bui Kim Thành, 49, is a human-rights lawyer, Internet writer, and member of the banned Democratic Party of Vietnam. She was taken to the Bien Hoa Mental Hospital by police after they broke into her house in Ho Chi Minh City. The hospital is located about 30 km north of Saigon in the south of the country. Neither her relatives nor human-rights advocates have been allowed to visit her at the hospital. There are serious concerns for her well-being.

This is not the first time that Bui Kim Thành has been sent to a psychiatric hospital by the Vietnamese authorities. She was previously detained on November 2, 2006, and held for eight months at the Bien Hoa Psychiatric Hospital after being assessed by two psychiatrists who concluded that she was not suffering from mental illness. She is said to have been forcibly injected with unknown medication during her incarceration. She is believed to have been targeted for her critical online writings and dissident activities.

After her release in July 2007, she was placed under house arrest. Despite this, she continued reporting for media outlets and NGOs on issues of social injustice and human-rights violations in Vietnam. She is known for her defense of destitute women farmers made homeless by illegal land expropriation.   

Write A Letter

  • expressing serious concern that Bui Kim Thành is held in psychiatric detention without any apparent medical basis, and that she is at risk of ill treatment;
  • seeking further details about her detention, and calling for her immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of 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
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Prime Minister
Nguyên Tân Dung                  
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Minister of Culture and Information
Lê Doan Hop
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, asking them to intervene in the case.

Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN if sending appeals after May 19, 2008: ftw [at]