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Dissident writer arrested and detained

(CPJ/IFEX) - CPJ is greatly alarmed by the arrest and detention of
writer Nguyen Thanh Giang, reportedly for possessing documents critical
the Communist Party.

Giang, a prominent geologist whose articles on corruption within the
Communist Party have frequently been published on the Internet and in
newspapers published by Vietnamese living in exile, was arrested by
on 4 March 1999 in Hanoi, according to news reports. Communist Party
were quoted by the news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur saying that Giang
likely to be sentenced to prison following his arrest. He has not been
since his arrest, and no formal charges against him have been made

Vietnamese authorities have frequently harassed Giang for his writing on
political issues. His arrest follows a series of statements from
Party officials regarding alleged threats posed by dissidents. Senior
Communist Party security officials have warned in recent days that
forces" - both inside and outside the country - have stepped up efforts
sabotage Communist Party rule in Vietnam.

CPJ has also noted a deterioration in press freedom conditions in
Vietnam in
the past year as the Communist Party has tightened its control over the
media. Despite official constitutional guarantees of free speech and the
press, the reality in Vietnam is that almost all aspects of the media
under heavy state and party control. It is particularly alarming that
a scientist with an international reputation whose thoughtful political
essays have been banned in his homeland and widely praised outside of
Vietnam, now faces prison for exercising his right of free expression.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the President:
  • strongly urging that Giang be released from detention immediately
    and that
    any charges against him be made public
    reminding him that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil
    Political Rights, Vietnam has an obligation, under Article 19 of that
    document, to respect the right of free expression and a free press
  • asking that he use his good offices to see that all charges against
    are dropped, if Giang has been arrested as a result of his writing or
    disseminating information critical of the Communist Party

    Appeals To

    President Tran Duc Luong
    Socialist Republic of Vietnam
    c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Fax: +84 4 823 1872

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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