Amnesty International: Urgent Action - Health fears for detained Vietnamese Blogger (Điếu Cầy)
HEALTH FEARS FOR DETAINED VIETNAMESE BLOGGER
The lawyer and family of popular Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Hoang Hai, alsoknown as Dieu Cay, have not been allowed to visit him in prison for sixmonths. There are concerns for his health, as they have also been preventedfrom sending him food and medicine. Despite completing a 30-month prisonsentence in October 2010, he was detained for further investigation oncharges of “conducting propaganda” against the state.
Nguyen Hoang Hai, who isaround 60 years old, was last seen by his son at Xuan Loc prison, DongNai province in southeast Viet Nam on 19 October 2010. He had almost completeda two and a half year prison sentence for tax fraud, a charge believedto be politically motivated. However, instead, the authorities continuedto detain him and the police informed his family that he was being investigatedunder Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code for “conducting propaganda” againstthe state.
The lawyer and family of NguyenHoang Hai have made 13 requests to visit him since October. They have alsoattempted to deliver extra provisions for him, including food, medicinesand a small amount of money. The police have rejected all the requests.It is not known where he is now being held, how he is being treated orhis state of health. His family and friends fear for his safety.
Prison conditions in Viet Namare generally harsh, with poor food and limited health care; prisonersare reliant on additional supplies from their families. In 2009 NguyenHoang Hai was held incommunicado for several months after being transferredto a prison further from his home in Ho Chi Minh City, making it difficultfor his family to visit him. Political prisoners held incommunicado areparticularly vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment.
Nguyen Hoang Hai is the co-founderof the independent Free Vietnamese Journalists’ club, formed in 2007,and has written articles critical of China’s foreign policies with regardto Viet Nam and taken part in peaceful protests. He had publicly criticizedgovernment policies before his arrest in April 2008 and spoke out for humanrights in Viet Nam in his blogs.
In May 2009, the UN WorkingGroup on Arbitrary Detention deemed his detention arbitrary, with no basisunder international law. Nguyen Hoang Hai is a prisoner of conscience.
Freedom of expression and associationis strictly controlled in Viet Nam. Repression against dissidents has intensifiedin the last two years, characterized by arrests and trials of politicaland human rights activists. At least 30 prisoners of conscience are currentlyserving long prison terms for their peaceful activities. At least 13 peacefuldissidents are known to be detained and awaiting trial.
Bloggers who are critical ofgovernment policies are among those activists targeted by the authorities,as well as supporters of Bloc 8406, an internet based pro-democracy movement,and other unauthorized political groups.
The authorities use vaguelyworded provisions of the national security section of the 1999 Penal Codeto criminalize peaceful dissent. Political activists are commonly chargedwith “spying”, “conducting propaganda” against the state, and “activitiesaimed at overthrowing” the state. As well as receiving long prison terms,on release dissidents are also sentenced to periods of up to five years’house arrest or probation.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELYin English, Vietnamese or your own language:
Demanding thatthe authorities release Nguyen Hoang Hai immediately and unconditionally;
Calling on theauthorities to allow Nguyen Hoang Hai immediate access to his family, lawyer,and a doctor;
Urging that heis not tortured or ill-treated in detention.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 21 JUNE 2011 TO: Minister of Public Security
Le Hong Ha
Ministry of Public Security
44 Yet Kieu Street
Fax: + 844 3942 0223
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Pham Gia Khiem
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Street
Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi
Fax: + 844 3823 1872
Salutation: Dear Minister