Serious Health Concerns for Two Detained Writers
International PEN is seriously concerned for the health of two detained writers in Vietnam. Writer and activist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy has been detained since October 8, 2009, without access to the medical treatment she urgently requires. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy suffers from diabetes and tuberculosis, and there are serious concerns that her health is deteriorating in prison. PEN is also gravely concerned for the well-being of Father Nguyen Van Ly, who reportedly suffered a stroke in prison on November 14, 2009, and has been transferred to a hospital in Hanoi. PEN seeks immediate assurances of their well-being, and urges that they be given full access to all necessary medical care. It also calls for their immediate and unconditional release on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a signatory.
According to PEN’s information, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was arrested on October 8, 2009, after she publicly expressed her support for six dissidents facing trial. On the day of her arrest, an incident took place at her home, the details of which remain unclear. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy has subsequently been charged with assault, although it is widely believed that she was in fact the victim of an assault herself and is being targeted for her critical writings and activism. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy is an established novelist, poet, essayist and former editor of the underground dissident magazine To Quoc (Fatherland), who has been under heavy surveillance and harassment since September 2006 for her critical writings published online. She was previously detained in April 2007 and held for nine months. She is currently being held at Hoa Lo Moi Prison, near Hanoi. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy is an Honorary Member of English PEN. She is a member of the Union of Writers and the Club of Women Poets of Hanoi, and is a recipient of the 2008 Hellman Hammet Award.
Father Nguyen Van Ly, 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 to 1978, and again from 1983 to 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, and was a main case of International PEN. He was released under amnesty in February 2005.
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern for the health of detained writers Tran Khai Thanh Thuy and Nguyen Van Ly, and urging that they are given full access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency;
- Calling for their immediate and unconditional release on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with 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 of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
C/O Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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 December 15, 2009: ftw [at] pen.org