Home Page > News Item > VIETNAM: Activist and Internet writer sentenced

RAN 49/11 21 September 2011

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International protests the four-year sentence handed down to activist and Internet writer Lu Van Bay on 22 August 2011 for his critical online writings. PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Lu Van Bay and all those currently detained in Vietnam in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a signatory.

According to PEN’s information, Lu Van Bay was arrested at his home by police on 26 March 2011, who also seized his computer and several of his articles. Six months later, he was sentenced to four years in prison and three years’ of house arrest following a half-day trial under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code for ‘conducting propaganda against the regime. He was charged specifically for ten articles he posted on various overseas Internet sites over the last four years, calling for the end of one-party rule in the country and the introduction of a multiparty system. The judge also stated that Bay ‘confessed’ to the crime and asked for leniency.

Lu Van Bay, aged 59, is a prominent pro-democracy activist and a prolific Internet writer. He focuses on social and political issues including freedom of expression and of the press. He has contributed to a number of websites such as Dan Chim Viet (Vietnamese Brirds), Doi Thoa (Dialogue) and To Quoc (Fatherland). For security reasons, he has written under various pseudonyms, including Tran Bao Viet, pen-name he used since 2010.

Dozens of political critics and activists have been sentenced to long prison terms in Vietnam since its government began a concerted crackdown on freedom of expression in October 2009. They include French-Vietnamese university teacher and Internet writer Pham Minh Hoang who was sentenced on 10 August 2011 to three years in prison for his critical online writings.

Useful links:
• For the BBC’s country profile: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1243338.stm

Please send appeals:
Protesting the sentence handed down to activist and internet writer Lu Van Bay solely for the peaceful expression of his views;
Expressing serious concern about the large numbers of dissidents and internet writers currently detained in Vietnam, many of whom are serving lengthy sentences;
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Lu Van Bay and all those currently detained in Vietnam in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Appeals to be sent to:
His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet
President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Hanoi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Minister of Public Security
Lt Gen Tran Dai Quang
Ministry of Public Security
44 Yet Kieu Street
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Fax: + 844 3942 0223

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Pham Binh Manh
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Street
Ba Dinh district
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Fax: + 844 3823 1872

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 31 October 2011. ***

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@pen-internationalpen.org

image_print