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Letter to Vietnamese President regarding Nguyen Vu Binh and Nguyen Dan Que

His Excellency Tran Duc Luong
President
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Your Excellency,

We are writing to express our concern about recent actions against Vietnamese citizens in violation of Vietnam's commitment to respect internationally recognized human rights of free expression and association.

On September 25, 2002, public security officials searched the home of former journalist and writer Nguyen Vu Binh in Hanoi and subsequently detained him. His current whereabouts, and the charges against him, are unknown. Mr. Binh has written articles calling for political reform and criticizing government policy. He was briefly detained this past July after he submitted a statement to a U.S. Congressional briefing and signed a joint petition with others calling for democratic reforms. We urge Mr. Binh's immediate and unconditional release. His detention is a threat to free expression and the work of journalists in Vietnam.

We are also deeply concerned about Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, a leading peaceful advocate of human rights and democratic reform. Dr. Que's home in Ho Chi Minh City was raided by state security officials on September 20, the house was ransacked and documents searched. He was asked to leave with the police to be interrogated, but refused when they could not produce a court order for his arrest. Ten security officials were subsequently stationed outside his home. We urge you to order an immediate investigation into these flagrantly illegal and unwarranted actions against Dr. Que, and to ensure that there are not further threats against him.

As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Vietnam is committed to protect basic rights and freedoms. We trust you will make every effort to uphold Vietnam's important international obligations.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns.

Sincerely,

Mike Jendrzejczyk
Washington Director, Asia Division

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