Imprisonment of Nguyen Quang Lap
News has come from Vietnam that the writer Nguyen Quang Lap, who blogs under the name Blogger Que Choa, has been arrested and imprisoned. A group of Vietnamese artists, intellectuals and scientists has forwarded the following petition.
REQUEST TO FREE NGUYEN QUANG LAP IMMEDIATELY
Please sign this petition by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, occupation, and address. The number of signers was 1,062 as of 12/19/2014.
To: H.E. Truong Tan Sang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
To: H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
To: Mr. Trai Dai Quang, Minister of Public Security of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
We, the undersigned, are colleagues and readers of writer Nguyen Quang Lap, also known as blogger Que Choa, who advocates for culture and the arts, who cares about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and basic human rights as defined in the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, as in he United Nations Universal Human Rights Declaration, of which Vietnam is a signatory.
We are deeply concerned that Nguyen Quang Lap was detained by the Security Police of Ho Chi Minh City on December 6, 2014, citing Article 258 of Vietnam's penal code: "Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens." Nguyen Quang Lap is a popular playwright and blogger who is well respected by the public of Vietnam and the international community.
The imprisonment of writer Nguyen Quang Lap has strongly moved the public, including intellectuals, writers, artists, colleagues, young people, and readers who love him.
The legitimacy of this imprisonment is in question because:
1. The content of the Que Chua blog provides only news from different sources, for the purpose of reaching the truth, as stated by Bo Lap. It peacefully questions the policy and actions of the Vietnamese government, in order to contribute to the reforms of the nation.
2. the Security Police entered a private home without warrant, then claimed to have caught the writer "red handed" while he was writing his novel on his own computer.
The imprisonment of Nguyen Quang Lap is inhumane since he has been in poor health. He suffers from hemiplegia due to traumatic brain injury. As a result, walking, sitting, and even care for his personal hygiene are difficult for him.
The imprisonment of Nguyen Quang Lap, therefore, is not convincing. It only creates negative reactions from the people of Vietnam and the international community. It also diminishes public trust in the justice system of Vietnam. It raises doubt that the Vietnamese government truly honors human rights and civil rights. More importantly, it impedes Vietnam's efforts to gain support from other democratic countries.
We therefore request:
1. That the government free writer Nguyen Quang Lap immediately.
2. That further investigation be legitimate and transparent and include the involvement of a lawyer selected by the writer.
3. That the government free Truong Duy Nhat, Nguyen Huu Vinh, Hong Le Tho, and other bloggers who were imprisoned because of similar illegal and false convictions.
4. Revision and repeal of articles 258.88 of the penal code, which are vague and thus easily abused in order to suppress freedom of speech and expression.
To lift our nation out of the current crisis, the government needs to listen to the voices of the Vietnamese people, as well as intellectuals and artists, instead of brutally oppressing them, a principle that the President and Prime Minister have previously affirmed many times.
Very respectfully yours,
Nguyen Ngoc, writer, and 34 Vietnamese writers, artists, and scientists