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Viet Nam: Prisoner of conscience sentenced

, Index number: ASA 41/008/2009

Vu Hung, a male teacher and pro-democracy activist, has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for “conducting propaganda” against the state after a three-hour trial. He was arrested on 18 September 2008, after calling for democracy and peacefully protesting over a territory dispute with China. Vu Hung is a prisoner of conscience.

Further Information on UA: 18/09 Index: ASA 41/008/2009 Viet Nam Date: 09 October 2009
URGENT ACTION
PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE SENTENCED
Vu Hung, a male teacher and pro-democracy activist, has been sentenced to three years’
imprisonment for “conducting propaganda” against the state after a three-hour trial. He was
arrested on 18 September 2008, after calling for democracy and peacefully protesting over a
territory dispute with China. Vu Hung is a prisoner of conscience.
On 7 October, a court in the Vietnamese capital Ha Noi sentenced Vu Hung to three years’ imprisonment and three
years’ probation, or house arrest, on release. Vu Hung is reported to have said at the trial: “I just want to contribute
my little voice to make society better.” In May 2009, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that his
detention was arbitrary.
On 18 September 2008, law enforcement officials arrested Vu Hung and he was charged under Article 88 of the
Penal Code, for “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”. In the months immediately
after his arrest, Vu Hung was repeatedly beaten during interrogations and went on hunger-strike in protest. He was
taken to a Ministry of Public Security hospital on several occasions when his health had deteriorated. Concerns for
his health and welfare increased when his whereabouts in the prison were unknown for more than two months in late
2008 and early 2009. His current place of detention and his state of health are unknown.
The Vietnamese authorities have targeted Vu Hung since 2006, because of his pro-democracy activism and his
protests against government policies. In April 2008, he was among 14 people arrested during peaceful
demonstrations against Chinese policies as the Olympic torch passed through Ho Chi Minh City. He was beaten by
police before being released. Three months later he was reportedly dismissed from his job as a high school physics
teacher.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Vietnamese or your own language calling on Vietnamese authorities:
To immediately and unconditionally release Vu Hung;
To ensure that he is not tortured and ill-treated in detention;
To allow Vu Hung regular access to his family, and to a lawyer of his choice, and that he is provided proper
medical care.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 NOVEMBER 2009 TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Pham Gia Khiem
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Street
Ba Dinh district, Ha Noi
Viet Nam
Fax: + 8443 823 1872
Email: bc.mfa@mofa.gov.vn
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Public Security
Le Hong Anh
Ministry of Public Security
44 Yet Kieu Street
Ha Noi
Viet Nam
Fax: + 8443 942 0223
Salutation: Dear Minister
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Viet Nam accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals
after the above date. This is the first update of UA 18/09 (ASA 41/001/2009). Further information:
www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA41/001/2009/en
Date: 09 October 2009
URGENT ACTION
PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE SENTENCED
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Freedom of expression and association is strictly controlled in Viet Nam. Dissidents who are critical of government policies and
speak out about human rights violations face a range of sanctions to silence them. These include surveillance by local police,
restrictions on movement, interference with home utilities such as phone lines and internet access, arbitrary questioning and
detention by police, arrest and imprisonment. There are also cases where authorities have used arbitrary detention in mental
health institutions against outspoken critics and activists.
At least 30 dissidents have been handed long prison sentences, since a series of arrests began in 2006 after a short-lived period
of tolerance to increased web-based activism challenging the government. Another wave of arrests began in May 2009. At least
12 dissidents are held in pre-trial detention.
The law enforcement agencies arbitrarily use the Penal Code to stifle and criminalize peaceful dissent, in breach of international
human rights treaties that Viet Nam has ratified. Restrictions and regulations on internet use penalize freedom of expression on
topics deemed sensitive, including human rights and advocacy of democracy. Recent regulations on blogging enacted in
December 2008 restrict content to personal matters, and prohibit dissemination of anti-government material, and “undermining
national security”.
Further Information on UA: 18/09 Index: ASA 41/008/2009 Issue Date: 09 October 2009

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