Vietnam: join the protest against the ongoing persecution of writers

English PEN is continuing to campaign on behalf of the many writers, bloggers and activists detained or otherwise persecuted in Vietnam. Please join us

According to PEN International’s most recent case list, there are now more than 60 Vietnamese writers of concern to PEN. These include journalists, bloggers, human rights activists, poets, and songwriters, all of whom are in prison, on trial, or have been attacked.

Of particular concern to English PEN is the case of blogger and human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison for alleged tax evasion in October 2013. In 2013, the detention of Le Quoc Quan was condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a violation of his right to freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial. It found that Le Quoc Quan had been targeted for his work as a lawyer and blogger and called for his immediate release or for his conviction to be reviewed by an independent court. It also recommended that Viet Nam pay damages to Le Quoc Quan for his arbitrary detention.

We are also seriously concerned for imprisoned poet, journalist, essayist and novelist Nguyen Xuan Nghia. In October 2009, after a trial that reportedly lasted just a few hours, Nguyen Xuan Nghia was convicted of conducting anti-government propaganda under Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code and sentenced to six years in prison. The indictment against him cited 57 pieces written by Nguyen Xuan Nghia from 2007 until his arrest in 2008, including poetry, literature, short stories and articles that allegedly sought to ‘insult the Communist Party of Vietnam, distort the situation of the country, slander and disgrace the country’s leaders, demand a pluralistic and multiparty system…and incite and attract other people into the opposition movement.’

In July 2013, Nguyen Xuan Nghia was moved to solitary confinement for revealing that a fellow detainee, blogger Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) had gone on hunger strike. Just a few weeks later, it was reported that the ‘disciplinary punishment’ had been temporarily suspended. However, when his wife visited him briefly she learned that although he was no longer in solitary confinement, he was now in an even more dangerous situation – sharing a cell with a criminal prisoner who is serving a life sentence for spying on China. Shortly afterwards, in September 2013, we learned that Nguyen Xuan Nghia had been physically attacked by his cell mate. There is now widespread concern for his health and safety.

We believe that both Nguyen Xuan Nghia and Le Quoc Quan are being held solely for peacefully expressing their opinions. We are therefore calling for the immediate and unconditional release of both writers and of all those currently detained in Vietnam in violation of their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a state party.

 

TAKE ACTION

Please send appeals:

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained in Vietnam in violation of their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the ICCPR, to which Vietnam is state party.

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 steet
Ba Dinh district
Ha Noi
Viet Nam
Fax: +844 3823 1872 / Email: bc.mfa@mofa.gov.vn

His Excellency Mr Vu Quang Minh
Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
12-14 Victoria Road
London
W8 5RD
Fax: 020 7937 6108 / Email: embassy@vietnamembassy.org.uk

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=embassy@vietnamembassy.org.uk‘ subject=”In protest at the ongoing persecution of Vietnamese writers”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the ongoing persecution of writers in Vietnam.

According to PEN International’s most recent case list, there are now more than 60 Vietnamese writers of concern to PEN. These include journalists, bloggers, human rights activists, poets, and songwriters, all of whom are in prison, on trial, or have been attacked.

Of particular concern to English PEN is the case of blogger and human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison for alleged tax evasion in October 2013. In 2013, the detention of Le Quoc Quan was condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a violation of his right to freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial. It found that Le Quoc Quan had been targeted for his work as a lawyer and blogger and called for his immediate release or for his conviction to be reviewed by an independent court. It also recommended that Viet Nam pay damages to Le Quoc Quan for his arbitrary detention.

I am also seriously concerned for imprisoned poet, journalist, essayist and novelist Nguyen Xuan Nghia. In October 2009, after a trial that reportedly lasted just a few hours, Nguyen Xuan Nghia was convicted of conducting anti-government propaganda under Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code and sentenced to six years in prison. The indictment against him cited 57 pieces written by Nguyen Xuan Nghia from 2007 until his arrest in 2008, including poetry, literature, short stories and articles that allegedly sought to ‘insult the Communist Party of Vietnam, distort the situation of the country, slander and disgrace the country’s leaders, demand a pluralistic and multiparty system…and incite and attract other people into the opposition movement.’

In July 2013, Nguyen Xuan Nghia was moved to solitary confinement for revealing that a fellow detainee, blogger Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) had gone on hunger strike. Just a few weeks later, it was reported that the ‘disciplinary punishment’ had been temporarily suspended. However, when his wife visited him briefly she learned that although he was no longer in solitary confinement, he was now in an even more dangerous situation – sharing a cell with a criminal prisoner who is serving a life sentence for spying on China. Shortly afterwards, in September 2013, it was reported that Nguyen Xuan Nghia had been physically attacked by his cell mate. There is now widespread concern for his health and safety.

I believe that both Nguyen Xuan Nghia and Le Quoc Quan are being held solely for peacefully expressing their opinions. I am therefore calling for the immediate and unconditional release of both writers and of all those currently detained in Vietnam in violation of their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a state party.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

[/ecampaign]

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