Vietnam: Blogger Ta Phong Tan released

English PEN and PEN International welcome the release of Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan on 19 September 2015. Arrested in September 2011, Ta Phong Tan was sentenced a year later to 10 years in prison and three years in probationary detention for ‘conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam’ under Article 88 of the Criminal Code. Less than a year after her arrest her mother Danh Thi Khim Lieng self-immolated in protest at her daughter’s detention, the first such act of protest in Vietnam since the 1970s.

According to PEN’s information, Ta Phong Tan was released directly into exile and the remainder of her 10-year sentence has been suspended. We are deeply disappointed that she has been forced into exile and will be calling on the Vietnamese authorities to allow Ta Phong Tan to return freely to Viet Nam. We also continue to call for the release of all other writers and journalists held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression. Join us.

TAKE ACTION

Please send appeals:

  • Welcoming the release of blogger Ta Phong Tan on 19 September 2015, but deploring that her release was conditional on her forced exile and on a suspended prison sentence;
  • Calling on the Vietnamese authorities to allow Ta Phong Tan to return freely to Viet Nam;
  • Calling on the authorities to quash her sentence;
  • Calling on the Vietnamese authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all writers and journalists held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Appeals to:

  • His Excellency Truong Tan Sang
  • President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
  • Hung Vuong Street
  • Ba Dinh District
  • Ha Noi,
  • Viet Nam
  • Mr Nguyen Tan Dung
  • Prime Minister
  • 1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
  • Ba Dinh District
  • Ha Noi
  • Viet Nam
  • Fax: +84 80 44130/ +84 80 44940
  • Mr Phan Binh Minh
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 1 Ton That Dam Street
  • Ba Dinh District
  • Ha Noi
  • Viet Nam
  • Fax: +844 3823 1872
  • Email: bc.mfa@mofa.gov.vn

Please send copies of your appeals to Vietnamese diplomatic representatives in your country. For some Vietnamese embassies in the world: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Vietnam

Background

Ta Phong Tan (aka Cong Ly Va Su That), is a blogger for Conglysuthat (Justice & Truth), and former police officer. She was arrested on 5 September 2011. The charges stemmed from articles that she posted along with fellow bloggers Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) and Phan Thanh Hai on the banned website Free Journalists’ Club (Cau Lac Bo Nha Bao Tu Do), which they co-founded, and to articles published on her own blog.

On 30 July 2012 her mother died after self-immolating outside government buildings following months of harassment from Public Security officials.

Held in poor conditions in a camp over 1700 km from her home, Ta Phong Tan is in very poor health suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and a sore throat. She spent over three weeks on hunger strike from on 13 May 2015.

Ta Phong Tan is not the first dissident blogger to be released into exile. In October last year, her colleague Nguyen Van Hai was taken directly to Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city following his release after serving more than four years of his two prison sentences amounting to 14 and a half years in prison. Nguyen Van Hai was put on a plane bound for the United States. His family was only informed of his release from prison once his plane had departed. Vietnamese editor Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, an Honorary Member of English PEN, was also exiled to the United States following her release in 2011.

Ta Phong Tan is a popular blogger among dissidents in Vietnam; she has written articles about corruption, abuse of power, and the confiscation of land, among other issues. Her articles have been published in many mainstream media outlets in Viet Nam, including Tuoi Tre (Youth), Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer), Viet Nam Net, and the Vietnamese Service of the BBC. For more on her story and the plight of over twenty writers currently detained in Viet Nam, read Kamila Shamsie’s article ‘Vietnam’s Blog Shame’, in The Guardian.

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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