RAN 17/11

VIETNAM: Prominent activist sentenced

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee strongly protests the harsh seven year prison sentence handed to dissident writer and activist Cu Huy Ha Vu on 4 April 2011.. PEN is calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Viet Nam is a signatory. It also seeks assurances of his well-being in detention.

Leading human rights defender and environmental activist, Cu Huy Ha Vu, was arrested on November 5, 2010 after publishing several critical articles online and giving interviews to foreign media. He was convicted of “conducting propaganda against the state” by a court in Ha Noi on April 4, 2011 and sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of house arrest at a trial which reportedly fell short of international standards of fairness.

Vu is the son of a celebrated poet who was also a leading revolutionary and confidante of the late President Ho Chi Minh. He is known for his environmental activism, and had previously twice sued the Prime Minister in an attempt to stop a controversial bauxite mining project which he believed would be harmful to the environment.

Dissident writers Pham Hong Son and Le Quoc Quan, both former main cases of PEN International, were reportedly arrested outside the court as they tried to observe Vu’s trial. They were held until April 13, 2011 before being released without charge.

Dozens of peaceful political critics and activists have been sentenced to long prison terms in Viet Nam since its government began a concerted crackdown on freedom of expression in October 2009. They include pro-democracy activist and former Communist Party official Vi Duc Hoi, sentenced to eight years in prison and five years’ probationary detention on 26 January 2011 for posting articles online calling for democracy.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition below to send the following appeals:

  • Protesting the harsh sentenced handed down to dissident writer and activist Cu Huy Ha Vu solely for the peaceful expression of his views;
  • Expressing serious concern about the large numbers of peaceful dissidents and internet writers currently detained in Viet Nam, many of whom are serving lengthy sentences;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of dissident writer Cu Huy Ha Vu 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;
  • Seeking assurances of his well-being in detention, and assurances that he has full access to family visits and any necessary medical care.

Appeals will be sent to:

His Excellency Nguyên Minh Triêt
President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Nguyên Tân Dung
Prime Minister
Sign the petition!
Check this box if you wish to receive updates about this petition campaign