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To Whom It May Concern,
We, a group of Vietnamese bloggers and democracy activists, would like to inform you that the government of Vietnam continues to ignore the international commitments in respecting human rights issues. The government of Vietnam continues to increase the repressive actions and prohibiting freedom of expression toward their citizens. Many of the arrests and harassment have been made recently by the government of Vietnam to suppress the voices of the dissidents and human rights activists.
On January 20th, 2010 and May 11th, 2010, both preliminary trial and appellate trial have sentenced four democracy activists: 1) Mr. Thuc Duy Huynh Tran got 16 years in prison. 2) The young engineer with master degree in computer science, Mr. Trung Tien Nguyen, got 7 years in prison. 3) A famous attorney, Mr. Dinh Cong Le received five years in prison. 4) The entrepreneurs, Mr. Long Thang Le received 3 years and 6 months in prison. These four activists were imprisoned for their expression of political beliefs and disagreement with the government.
On August 13th, 2010, Mr. Hoang Minh Pham, a Vietnamese professor with the French citizenship, was arrested for blogging about democracy and calling for social justice in Vietnam. Recently, the Vietnam Security agents informed Mr. Hoang Pham’s wife that he would be trialed soon but has not announced the exact date.
On October 18th, 2010, Mr. Hai Thanh Phan (blogger Anh Ba Saigon) was arrested by Vietnamese police because he opened his blog to repost news about democracy. He has been detained without trial for more than six months. His third child has came into this world without the presence of the father. His wife is struggling to take care of their three very young children.
On October 19th, 2010, instead of being released after three years in prison, Mr. Hai Van Nguyen (blogger Dieu Cay) were held up by the police and he received another new charge of “propaganda against the state “under Article 88 of the Criminal Code. His family came to the prison 13 times in attempt to visit him accordingly to the law, but the police has denied the family the rights of visiting. His family are very worried for his health conditions and for his life because they have no news about him for more than six months. His family does not know if he is still alive or dead.
On January 6th, 2011, an U.S. diplomat, Mr. Christian Marchant, was physically roughed up by the Security agents of the government of Vietnam when he came to a pre-arranged meeting with Father Ly Van Nguyen. Mr. Marchant was injured during this incident.
On March 18th, 2011, the appellate court held in Tra Vinh maintained the same sentences of the preliminary trial in October 2010. That is seven years in prison for Mr. Chuong Huy Doan and Ms. Hanh Minh Thi Do; and nine years imprisonment for Hung Quoc Hoang Nguyen because they were activists for the rights of workers in Vietnam. Sources have said that the health status of these three activists are in danger because they are brutally beaten in prison. We are really concerned for the health conditions of three young activists.
On April 4th, 2011, the People’s Court of Hanoi sentenced Dr. Vu Ha Huy Cu seven years in prison for “propaganda against the government of Vietnam” under Article 88 of the Criminal Code, but that court has not presented evidence of the allegations. A defense attorney had been asked to leave the courtroom after he insited the Court must provide the evidence. Then, the remaining three defense lawyers also left the courtroom prior to the litigation because they believe that the Court has violated the due process of law on the proceedings when the Court refused to provide documentary proofs for the defendant. People from different parts of the country had gathered peacefully in front of the courthouse to attend this so-called “public trial” but the Vietnamese police forces had prohibited them to come close to the courthouse gate and some of the people were even taken into the police station.
On April 25th, 2011, at Tan Son Nhat Airport, Mr. Tu Thanh Ngo (blogger Thien Sau) were prevented from boarding a plane to travel to Thailand and then he was escorted to the police station. He was detained unreasonably for six days during which time his family had not known where he was detained at and for what reasons. Prior to his arrest, Mr. Tu Ngo used blogs to express his political opinions and he has joined the Free Journalists Club (same group with blogger Dieu Cay and blogger Anh Ba Saigon) to speak out about the reality of life inside Vietnam.
On April 26th, 2011, the People’s Court in Lang Son has sentenced Mr. Hoi Duc Vi (a former Communist Party member who had seceded) 5 years in prison and three years probation on charges of “propaganda against the state “. Earlier, the preliminary trial has sentenced him eight years in prison and 5 years probation because he had written articles on expressing his ideas on democracy, multi-parties and human rights.
On April 30th, 2011, Mr. Vien Quang Bui (a poet with pen name “Bui Chat” and also a director of publisher Giay Vun) has been detained at Tan Son Nhat Airport as he returned from Argentina after receiving the Freedom To Publish Prize 2011 awarded by the International Publishing Association (IPA). He was detained for 2 days and then released. However, he was asked to report to the police station on May 3rd, 2011 and continued to be interrogated.
We also want to remind you that Pastor Khai Kim Duong, writer Thuy Thanh Khai Tran, activist Nghien Thanh Pham, writer Nghia Xuan Nguyen, journalist Duc Minh Truong and other democracy activists are still being imprisoned by the government of Vietnam.
We would like to request the U.S. State Department put Vietnam back on the CPC list (Countries with Particular Concerns) until the government of Vietnam commit to implement international agreements to respect human rights.
We also urge you to call on the Government of Vietnam to release immediately and unconditionally all bloggers, all prisoners of conscience, all the dissidents and other peaceful democracy activists . The Government of Vietnam must respect human rights and international laws.
We thank you for your attention and support.
Viet Nam, 02 May 2011
EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR SENDOUT :
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Here are websites of some international organizations to fill out directly onto their forms:
A Non-profit organization of the US: Freedom Now
the US Speaker of the House
International Bar Asssociation
U.S. Department of State
US representative: Mr. Ed Royce