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Blogger arrested, whereabouts unknown

UPDATE: Arrested Vietnamese blogger released (SEAPA, 6 July 2012)

(SEAPA/IFEX) - 5 July 2012 - On 4 July, Vietnamese authorities in Ho Chi Minh City arrested a young blogger after she reported to the police regarding an earlier arrest in connection with her participation in a protest.

Huynh Thuc Vy, 27, was taken into custody aboard a passenger van outside the Tan Quy police station in Ho Chi Minh City. Her whereabouts are currently unknown despite attempts by her husband and their lawyer to find her.

According to information received by SEAPA, police interrogated Huynh and her husband, Le Khanh Duy, at the police station when they reported in response to an "invitation" following their release from an earlier arrest for participating in an anti-Chinese bullying protest in the city on 1 July.

During the interrogation, police threatened and intimidated the couple. As Huynh is reportedly suffering from an illness, her husband asked the police to take her to the hospital. When they stood up to leave, Huynh was taken forcibly into a van, which sped off to an unknown location. The van had a registration number of "92" under Quang Nam province.

In the afternoon, police went to the couple's home to confiscate their laptop computers and mobile phones. Contrary to lawful procedures, the police did not leave any record of the seized items.

In the afternoon, the couple's lawyer tried to locate Huynh but was told by the Tan Quy police that they only had "transport duty" and to ask the authorities in Quang Nam province, where Huynh's home is located.

Le Khanh Duy is appealing to the authorities to disclose where his wife is being held and to release her as she is ill and had weakened further due to the harassment suffered during their earlier detention.

As regards the earlier detention, the couple had joined a rally on 1 July at the Chinese consulate in Ho Chi Minh City as part of continuing protests against China's alleged bullying in the South China Sea territory, which is disputed with Vietnam. They, along with several others, were arrested and forcibly taken to Co Giang Ward, District 1, in the city, where they were held for some 23 hours and assaulted while in detention.

Huynh is an active blogger who writes on human rights, democracy and other political issues. Her father, Huynh Ngoc Tuan, spent 10 years in prison for his calls for freedom and democracy in Vietnam.

A recent news report from Radio Free Asia (RFA) alleged that police have been targeting bloggers in particular in connection with the protests. The RFA report quoted Huynh's father as saying he had been put under surveillance before the rallies.

This account is confirmed by Danlambao, a popular blog that has carried out live reporting of the protests, which said that many other bloggers have been harassed or arrested. One of them is Nguyen Hoang Vi, whose house was surrounded before she could leave for the protest in order to report as a citizen journalist. She managed to avoid the police but was arrested later at the rally. Others include bloggers Chau Van Thi, Hanh Nhan, Gio Lang Thang, Dan Nuoc Nam, Le Thuan and Huynh Cong Thuan, who were also temporary held by police for wanting to attend and report on the event.
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