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Dissident writer Nguyen Thanh Giang officially charged

(WiPC/IFEX) - Amnesty International has reported the official confirmation
that geologist and writer Nguyen Thanh Giang has been charged with violating
Article 205A of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment for up to
three years for abusing "freedom of speech, of the press or of religion...
or other democratic rights to encroach upon the interests of the State...."
According to unofficial sources, he is now detained in a police detention
centre in Hanoi. His family have been allowed to take him food, but have not
been allowed to meet with him.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 17 March, 16 March, 12 March and 11 March 1999**

According to news reports, Giang was arrested in Hanoi on 4 March 1999,
reportedly for possessing documents critical of the government. Giang is a
well-known and highly respected geologist and writer who has been publicly
critical of the Communist Party of Vietnam for at least ten years. He has
written numerous articles, mainly published abroad, advocating democracy,
human rights and peaceful political reform.

No information has been made public about when he will be brought to trial.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the President:
  • expressing concern that writer Nguyen Thanh Giang is detained in
    of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to
    which Vietnam is a signatory, and calling for his immediate and
    unconditional release
  • urging that whilst in detention he is allowed full access to lawyers,
    medical treatment and family members

    Appeals To

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

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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