2017: Vietnam: Me Nam

Human rights activist and blogger Me Nam was arrested in October 2016 and was sentenced to 10 years in prson on charges of “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” We believe that Me Nam is being targeted for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression.

July 10th 2017

His Excellency Tran Dai Quang, President of the Social Republic of Vietnam
Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister
Mr Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs

To whom it may concern,

PEN International and The Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee hereby urge you to quash the conviction and 10-year sentence of blogger and human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as Me Nam.

Me Nam was arrested in October 2016 and has since been convicted of “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 88 of the Penal Code. We believe that Me Nam is being targeted for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression.

Via her blog and social media, Me Nam has shared her opinions on social, economical, political, environmental and human rights issues. As a result of this Me Nam has dealt with consistent harassment from Vietnamese authorities, concluding now in this 10-year prison sentence, which violates Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Vietnam is a state party. In Article 19 it is clearly stated that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression (…) in writing or in print (…) though any other media of his choice”.

We therefore strongly urge you to quash Me Nam’s conviction and release her immediately and unconditionally. We also urge you to repeal Article 88, as well as other national security provisions that criminalise dissent in breach of international human rights law.

In addition we urge you to immediately and unconditionally release all other writers and activists imprisoned or detained for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the ICCPR.

 

Yours sincerely,

Mari Moen Holsve

Member of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

 

COPY: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Vietnam Embassy in Norway

2015: Vietnam: Ta Phong Tan

His Excellency Truong Tan Sang
Ha Noi
Vietnam

September 30th 2015

Your Excellency

Ta Phong Tan – blogger for Conglysuthat

PEN International has received the good news that Ta Phong Tan was released from prison on September 19th of this year.  While welcoming this news, we also deplore the information that she is simultaneously forced into exile.

PEN International calls on the Vietnamese authorities to allow Ta Phong Tan to return freely to Viet Nam and to quash her sentence.

We also call on your authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all writers and journalists held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

We trust that Your Excellency will listen to our appeal and look into Ta Phong Tan’s case.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Aase Gjerdrum

(Translator, member of PEN Norwegian Centre)

 

Cc to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung

2014 Vietnam: Dang Xuan Dieu

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
6635 St.Olavs Plass
0130 Oslo

 

Oslo, 29 October 2014

Your Excellencies,

I write to you as a member of Norwegian PEN, the local section of PEN International, the writer`s and free expression organisation with 140 centres in over 100 countries around the world, including China and many other countries in your region.

Norwegian PEN is highly concerned about the life of the Vietnamese activist Dang Xuan Dieu, who is in danger due to gross mistreatment in prison.

Norwegian PEN requests the Vietnamese government to immediately cease the ill-treatment, physical and psychological abuse of Dang Xuan Dieu while in arbitrary detention. News reports of Dang Xuan Dieu being forced to sleep and eat next to his excrement; denied access to adequate food, clean drinking water and regular showers; and subjected to humiliation and torture reveal the inhumane conditions of his detention.

In January 2013, together with 13 activists Dang Xuan Dieu was sentenced to 13 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government based on his work as a community organizer who advocated for education for children living in poverty and aid to people with disability and his writings that highlighted the Vietnamese government’s religious persecution.

International human rights organizations, elected officials and foreign embassies in Hanoi have called for Dang Xuan Dieu’s immediate release. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that Dang Xuan Dieu and his fellow activists’ detention was arbitrary and unlawful.

According to reports, Dang Xuan Dieu, who is currently serving one of the longest politically motivated sentences in Vietnam, has been held in solitary confinement and subject to physical and psychological abuse as punishment for protesting his ill. On several occasions, prison officials forced Dang Xuan Dieu to model while other prisoners painted him into a half-human/half-beast figure.

Dang Xuan Dieu has been on prolonged hunger strikes since April 2014 to demand better treatment. In retaliation, prison officials act with impunity and have reportedly let other prisoners beat and treat Dang Xuan Dieu like a slave.

Despite the signing of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment last November, according to reports from those in detention, the Vietnamese government continues to show blatant disregard for the humane treatment of prisoners.

Norwegian PEN call on the Vietnamese government to release Dang Xuan Dieu immediately and unconditionally and must take all steps to provide him and other prisoners with humane treatment and appropriate access to sanitary facilities in accordance with their international obligations.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Brit Bildøen

Chair of Writers in Prison Committee

Norwegian PEN
COPY: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2007: Vietnamese writers

31. May 2007

The President
His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet
President, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
C/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hanoi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Prime Minister
His Excellency Nguyên Tân Dung
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Hanoi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Minister of Culture and Information
His Excellency Lê Doan Hop
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Hanoi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Your Excellencies

As a member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN, I am deeply concerned by the sentences served against the writers Tran Quoc Hien, Nguyen Van Ly, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan (f) and Tran Khai Thanh Thuy (f).
They have been heavily sentenced for pro-democracy activism and writing on Internet. We are concerned about an apparent crackdown on leading pro-democracy activists and writers for their peaceful dissident activities.
We believe that writers Tran Quoc Hien, Nguyen Van Ly, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan (f) and Tran Khai Thanh Thuy (f) are detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, and I call for their immediate and unconditional release of all writers held in Vietnam in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a signatory.
Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Trine Kleven/s.
Member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Carl Morten Iversen
Secretary General

Cc:     Norwegian Ministry of foreign Affairs
Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi

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

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

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

2007: Vietnam: Father Nguyen Van Ly

Prime Minister Nguyên Tân Dung
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Hanoi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

2 March 2007

Your Excellency,

I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of Norwegian PEN, am seriously concerned about the detention of magazine editor and Catholic priest Father Nguyen Van Ly, who was reportedly arrested on 19 February 2007 for his dissident activities.

Norwegian PEN fears that he may be held solely for peacefully exercising his right to free expression, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a signatory. There are reports that his health has seriously deteriorated since his arrest.

Ly is a leading member of the pro-democracy movement «Bloc 8406». He was previously detained from 1977-1978, and again from 1983-1992 for his activism in support of freedom of expression and religion. According to PEN’s information, Ly was arrested on 19 February 2007 during an «administrative check» at the archdiocesan building where he lives in the city of Hue. Phone lines were cut and the entire building was searched. Six computers, mobile phones and many documents were taken away. Two other editors of Tu do Ngôn luan, Father Chan Tin and Father Phan Van Loi, were reportedly placed under house arrest but are thought to have been subsequently released.

The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of  Father Nguyen Van Ly, and – if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a signatory – we are calling for his immediate and unconditional 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
Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam
Embassy of Vietnam in Stockholm