According to PEN’s information, Nguyen Huu Cau, 67, is a poet, songwriter, human rights defender and anti-corruption activist. He was arrested by public security police on October 9, 1982, for having authored an ‘incriminating’ manuscript of songs and poems. Nguyen Huu Cau had reportedly noted allegations of rape and bribery committed by the two high level officers on the back of the pages of the original manuscript.

Nguyen Huu Cau was accused of committing ‘destructive acts’ that were supposedly ‘damaging’ to the government’s image and on May 23, 1983, he was sentenced to death. His mother submitted an appeal on his behalf and a year later, on May 24, 1985, the Court of Appeals commuted his capital sentence into life imprisonment. The manuscript was reportedly not used as evidence in the trial against him, in order to protect the two officers concerned.

In the many years since, Nguyen Huu Cau has reportedly been held in harsh solitary confinement. He has apparently now lost most of his vision and is almost completely deaf. Nguyen Huu Cau suffers from a serious heart condition, which is worsening because of the lack of adequate medical attention and the deplorable prison conditions. He was recently reported to be in very poor health, according to his daughter returning from an authorized periodical visit to the camp deep in the jungle. Concerns for his well-being are acute. Nguyen Huu Cau is being held at forced labour camp K2 Z30A Xuan Loc, Dong Nai province, Vietnam.

Visit pen-international.org for more information about Nguyen Huu Cau's condition.

Please sign the petition below. Appeals will be sent on your behalf:

• Expressing serious concern for the health of imprisoned writer and activist Nguyen Huu Cau and urging that he is given full access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency;

• Calling for his immediate and unconditional release on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the ICCPR to which Vietnam is signatory.


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