Blogger Nguyen Hoang Hai, known as Dieu Cay ( " the peasant’s pipe " ) , in prison since 2008,will be brought to trial shortly for " conducting propaganda "against the state . His lawyer was recently allowed to visit him , andsaid he was ill and had lost a lot of weight.

Nguyen Hoang Hai is a prisoner of conscience,detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.He is due to be tried on 17 April, and could be sentenced from three to20 years’ imprisonment.

Nguyen Hoang Hai co-founded the independentFree Vietnamese Journalists’ Club in 2007. He has written articles criticalof China’s foreign policy on Viet Nam and taken part in peaceful protests.He used his blogs to expose corruption and promote human rights in VietNam.

He has been detained since his arrestin April 2008. In September 2008, he was convicted on politically motivatedcharges of tax fraud and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, whichhe completed in October 2010. Instead of releasing him, the authoritiestold his family he was being held for investigation for “conducting propaganda”against the state.

His family have been repeatedly deniedaccess to him, and his lawyer saw him for the first time only at the endof March 2012. In July 2011, a prison official told his family he had “lost”an arm or hand, without further explanation. The authorities have ignoredhis family's appeals for information.