CJFE alarmed by recent upsurge in arrests and maltreatment of Vietnamese bloggers

Friday, July 5, 2013

His Excellency Le Sy Vuong Ha, Ambassador of Vietnam to Canada
Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Canada
55 Mackay Street
Ottawa, ON K1M 2B2

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is alarmed by the recent upsurge in arrests and maltreatment of Vietnamese bloggers.

As of June 27, 2013, a total of 46 bloggers have been arrested in Vietnam this year, exceeding the total of 40 seen in the whole of 2012. Targeted individuals include Dinh Nhat Uy, Pham Viet Doa and Truong Duy Nhat, all three of whom were arrested in the period between May 26, 2013 and June 15, 2013. As Human Rights Watch reports, they were charged with “abusing democratic freedoms” after publishing critiques of the Vietnamese government on the internet, and subsequently face up to 7 years in jail. Bloggers have also been detained for several hours and subjected to unwarranted interrogation, as in the case of Tu Anh Tu, or else assaulted by police officers after several days of monitoring, as in the case of Nguyen Hoang Vi.

According to reports, these arrests seek to stifle the influence of the Web in Vietnam, which carries the potential to challenge the authority of the state. As such, they constitute a blatant violation of the right to free expression in a country that currently ranks 172nd of 179 countries on the Press Freedom Index. CJFE therefore urges the Vietnamese government to end the widespread persecution of the country’s bloggers and instead allow them to freely voice their opinions without fear of rebuke in the form of arrest or maltreatment.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

CC: Ms. Deborah Chatsis, Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam
The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs