24 October 2014 Update #1 to RAN 27/13
PEN International welcomes the release of journalist and blogger Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay) on 21 October 2014. Initially arrested in April 2008 and sentenced to 30 months in prison for alleged tax fraud, Nguyen Van Hai was sentenced to an additional 12 years in prison on 24 September 2012 following his conviction of “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (Article 88 of the Criminal Code). According to PEN’s information, he was reportedly taken directly to Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city following his release and put on a plane bound for the United States. His family were only informed of his release from prison once his plane had departed. PEN is deeply disappointed that he has been forced into exile and continues to call for the release of all other writers and journalists still held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
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Please send appeals:
- Welcoming journalist and blogger Nguyen Van Hai’s release on 21 October 2014 but deploring that his release was conditional on his forced exile and on a suspended prison sentence, after serving more than 4 years of his two prison sentences (14 and 1/2 years) since his first arrest in 2008;
- Calling on the Vietnamese authorities to allow Nguyen Van Hai to return freely to Viet Nam;
- Calling on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately squash Nguyen Van Hai’s prison sentence including his probationary detention;
- Calling on the Vietnamese authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all writers and journalists held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
|His Excellency Truong Tan Sang|
President of the Socialist Republic
of Viet Nam
Hung Vuong street
Ba Dinh district
|Mr Nguyen Tan Dung|
1 Hoang Hoa Tham street
Ba Dinh district
Fax: +84 80 44130/ +84 80 44940
|Mr Phan Binh Minh|
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam steet
Ba Dinh district
Fax: +844 3823 1872
Please send copies of your appeals to Vietnamese diplomatic representatives in your country. For some Vietnamese embassies in the world:
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 22 November 2014***
Nguyen Van Hai, prominent blogger, founder of the “Club of Free Journalists of Viet Nam” and Honorary Member of PEN Canada, who is well-known for his online writings calling for greater respect for human rights and democratic reforms, was initially arrested on 19 April 2008.He was first convicted in 2009 on trumped-up charges of “tax evasion” after a manifestly unfair, closed trial. Instead of being released upon completing his sentence in 2010, Nguyen Van Hai was charged with a second ‘offence’ of ‘conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’ (Article 88 of the Criminal Code) based on his online writings for the Free Journalist Network in Viet Nam, published prior to his arrest in 2008. For more information on his case, please see previous RANs (RAN 27/13; RAN 36/12; RAN 39/11) and the Case List.
On 21 October 2014, Nguyen Van Hai was released into exile. He was transferred from prison directly on to a flight to the United States. His family were only notified of his release when Nguyen Van Hai was able to make a call to his son while on a stop-over in Hong Kong.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org