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Demand release of unjustly imprisoned writers in Vietnam

Two of the seven writers still in prison as a result of the Vietnamese government's severe crackdown on peaceful dissidents last August and September are being denied visitation rights and are prone to ill treatment, warns International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC). WiPC is asking you to write a letter to the authorities to demand their release.

On 1 April, the family of Nguyen Hoang Hai, better known by the pseudonym Dieu Cay, discovered the writer and activist had been transferred from Saigon to Cai Tau in U Minh, a prison that is not only nine hours away from the family but is also known for corruption and violent treatment of prisoners. In one recent case, a prisoner was beaten so badly by the prison warden he is now in a vegetative state, according to a report from the prisoner's family. Dieu Cay's family believes the transfer was meant to restrict their visits and is deeply concerned about his well-being.

Dieu Cay was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on tax fraud charges, after a closed trial, in September 2008. As Dieu Cay's tax fraud charges were brought down five days after his arrest and Vietnamese citizens accused of personal tax fraud can pay fines to avoid imprisonment, the case against Dieu Cay appears to be based on trumped-up charges. The internet blogger, who is the founder of the Free Journalists Club in Vietnam, is known for his critical stance of Vietnam's anti-democratic practices and human rights as well as China's foreign policy.

The family of Pham Thanh Nghien, an independent online journalist, is also very concerned about the state of Nghien's health. Nghien was arrested in November 2008 for alleged "propaganda against the state" and has yet to face a trial. At the time of her arrest, Nghien suffered severe migraines related to previous beatings by local authorities. Her current condition is unknown as Nghien's family has been denied access to her.

WiPC's website

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