Imprisoned Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, known as Dieu Cay or “the peasant’s pipe”, has been on hunger strike since around 20 June in protest at the harsh treatment of himself and other political prisoners. He is serving a 12-year sentence for his writings and his health has deteriorated badly. He is a prisoner of conscience.
Nguyen Van Hai is detained at Prison No 6, Thanh Chuong District in Nghe An province, north central Viet Nam. The prison authorities refused permission for his family to visit him on 16 July, and then allowed them only a five-minute meeting on 20 July in the presence of guards. Nguyen Van Hai is said to be very weak, barely able to talk or walk.

Nguyen Van Hai co-founded the Free Journalists Club in September 2007 and became one of Viet Nam’s most influential bloggers, writing on a wide variety of issues, including social injustice, human rights abuses, and national sovereignty. He was first arrested in April 2008, tried on politically-motivated charges of tax evasion and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Instead of being released at the end of his sentence in October 2010, he was held for investigation for “conducting propaganda” against the state under Article 88 of Viet Nam’s Penal Code.

During this extended detention period, his family and lawyer were frequently refused permission to visit him. He was eventually tried on 24 September 2012 and received a 12-year prison sentence with five years’ house arrest on release. In an appeal letter written shortly after his trial in September 2012, he wrote that he had undertaken a protest hunger strike in February 2011 which lasted until he was taken to hospital after 28 days on 6 March 2011.

Please write immediately in English, Vietnamese or your own language:
n Demanding that the authorities release Nguyen Van Hai immediately and unconditionally as he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
n Urging them to instruct the prison authorities to take immediate steps to resolve the complaints made by Nguyen Van Hai, which would lead to him ending his hunger strike;
n Calling on them to ensure that Nguyen Van Hai has access to any medical attention he may require, that his family is allowed regular visits, and that he is treated in accordance with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.