The blogger Dieu Cay should have been released yesterday or the day before on completing a two year jail-sentence, but he is still being held and has reportedly been transferred to a different prison. His wife was also briefly arrested.
“The authorities seem to be seeking a pretext for keeping Dieu Cay in detention and are acting in a completely illegal manner,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He must be released without delay and the harassment of his family members must also stop.”
Arrested on 19 April 2008, Dieu Cay was sentenced by a Ho Chi Minh City court on 10 September 2008 to two and a half years in prison on a trumped-up charge of tax fraud designed to silence a troublesome dissident.
He had written about the protests accompanying the Olympic torch relay prior to the 2008 Beijing Games and was arrested just before the torch was paraded through Ho Chi Minh City. He had been under close police surveillance since taking part in protests at the start of 2008 against China’s claim to sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands.
Reporters Without Borders also calls for the immediate release of two other Vietnamese bloggers who have reportedly just been arrested.
One of them is Phan Thanh Hai, who is also known by the blog name of Anh Ba Saigon. The police reportedly arrested him at his home on 18 October, seizing three computers. He is facing a possible four-month jail sentence on a charge of “propaganda against the state,” according to his wife.
She quoted the police as say he was arrested for posting false information in his blog, in which he writes about Vietnam’s territorial disputes with China and the bauxite mining being carried about China in Vietnam. He has also expressed his support for other Vietnamese dissidents.
A series of hacker attacks on dissident websites, including the site of To Hai, a famous composer who became a dissident, is also currently under way. Reporters Without Borders condemns the increase in these cyber-attacks, which are designed to sabotage websites that tackle sensitive issues.
Vietnam is ranked 165th out of 178 countries in the world press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders released yesterday.