8. mars 2007

Vietnam: Tran Khai Than Thuy       

Oslo, 8 March 2007
His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet
President Socialist Republic of Vietnam
C/O Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Dear President Nguyen Minh Triet,

Today, on 8 March 2007 – International Women’s Day  – I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, will express my deep concern for the safety and the well-being of Tran Khai Than Thuy, an author and essayist who was arrested briefly in September  2006 for articles that she posted on the internet.  She was again briefly detained a few weeks later for publishing further essays.

She is editor of the dissident magazine To Quoc (Fatherland). In October she was subjected to a “People’s Court” in Hanoi where police gathered 300 people to denounce and humiliate her. Her home had been attacked by mobs calling her a traitor and a prostitute. Police refused to provide protection. She is now living under virtual house arrest.

Tran Khai Than Thuy is among this year’s Hellman Hammett Award winners.

The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN is seriously concerned about the intimidation of Tran Khai Than, and we are calling for an end to the harassment and restrictions placed against her.

Confident that you, Mr President, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W. Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam
Embassy of Vietnam in Stockholm

____________________________________
Ethiopia: Serkalem Fasil       

Oslo, 8 March 2007

 

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Office of the Prime Minister,
PO Box 1031, Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

Today, on 8 March 2007 – International Women’s Day  – I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, will express my deep concern for the safety and the well-being of the Ethiopian journalist Serkalem Fasil who has been imprisoned since November 2005.

In June 2006 Serkalem Fasil gave birth to a son in a police hospital. Amnesty International reports that the child was born prematurely in dire conditions and that a doctor’s recommendation that the child be given incubation was refused. The child is now being cared for by his grandparents. Fasil is married to another journalist, Eskinder Nega, who is also held in Katili prison, and the couple are provided limited access to each other.

Fasil and Nega were among 15 journalists arrested in late 2005 following articles critical of the May 2005 parliamentary elections. They are accused of treason, a charge that carries the death penalty. In recent months there have been disturbing reports that a number of journalists have died in custody..

Norwegian PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee is strongly protesting against the detention of Serkalem Fasil along with other Ethiopian writers and journalists.

We believe that they are held in violation of their right to freedom of expression, and we are calling for their urgent and immediate release.

Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W.Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Embassy in Stockholm

_______________________________________

Uzbekistan: Umida Niazova       

 

Oslo, 8 March 2007

Islam A. Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Rezidentysia prezidenta
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaia 43
Tashkent
Uzbekistan

Fax: +998 71 139 5325
email: presidents_office@press-service.uz

Dear President Karimov,

Today, on 8 March 2007 – International Women’s Day  – I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, will express my deep concern for the safety and the well-being of independent human rights defender and journalist Umida Niazova, who has been in detention in Uzbekistan since 22 January 2007. I consider Umida Niazova to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for carrying out her human rights activities, and I call for her to be released from detention immediately and unconditionally.

I fear for Umida Niazova’s health, and I urge you, Mr President, to guarantee that she will not be tortured or ill-treated in detention and that she will get access to necessary medical attention;

I also urge you to ensure that everyone can peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression in conformity with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uzbekistan is a State Party;

I kindly request you, Mr President, to remind the authorities of the right of human rights defenders to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Confident that you, Mr President, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W.Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir NOROV
Ministerstvo inostrannikh del RU, Mustakillik pl. 5, 700029 Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
Fax: +998 71 139 15 17, e-mail: rnews@mfa.uz
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, Norwegian Embassies in Moscow, Kiev and Baku, Ambassador of Central Asia in Norway