Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard took part in a day of demonstrations and activities that were organised today in Rennes, in northwestern France, to press for the release of Nguyen Tien Trung, a blogger and pro-democracy activist who has been held incommunicado in Vietnam for the past three months.
Hundreds of people attended a demonstration called by students and faculty members at the Rennes-based National Institute for Applied Sciences, from which Trung graduated with a masters in information technology in 2007. Several local officials and politicians attended the events.
“The Vietnamese authorities are violating their own laws by holding Nguyen Tien Trung incommunicado just because he criticised the regime,” Julliard said. “The government needs to heed the calls coming from France for the release of this young pro-democracy blogger.”
Julliard added: “Demonstrations of support for Trung must be continued and intensified, because Vietnam’s politicians are sensitive about their country’s image. The run-up to the next plenary session of the Communist Party central committee could be decisive for the possibility of getting Trung released.”
Trung’s brother, who attended today’s demonstration, said a lawyer was able to visit Trung but was not allowed to talk to him.
Trung was arrested at his parents’ home in Ho Chi Minh City on 7 July for allegedly violating article 88 of the criminal code. A government TV station has broadcast footage in which he makes a confession.
He seems to have been arrested because of what he posted online, above all a letter to the government about education policies, and because of his involvement in the Vietnam Democracy Party. In 2007, he created the Association of Young Vietnamese for Democracy.
The European Union has publicly called for his release. Vietnam was ranked 166th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
October 22nd, Gathering in Rennes, to support Trung: