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Cablegate: New Dissident Show Trials Planned in Hcmc

VZCZCXRO5453
PP RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHHM #0483 1241014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041014Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2576
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 1868
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 2773

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000483

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ELAB PINR SOCI VM
SUBJECT: NEW DISSIDENT SHOW TRIALS PLANNED IN HCMC


1. (SBU) HCMC print and broadcast media prominently reported May
4 that the GVN plans to conduct two new trials of political
activists in HCMC in May. Three members of the People's
Democratic Party of Vietnam, Le Nguyen Sang, Huynh Nguyen Dao
and Nguyen Bac Truyen, will be brought to trial in HCMC on May
10 for "conducting anti-GVN propaganda" under article 88 of the
Penal Code. According to the press reports, Le Nguyen Sang, a
medical doctor, received orders from his U.S.-based associate,
Do Cong Thanh, to print and disseminate 1,600 fliers in HCMC
with "distorted, anti-GVN, anti-Party content." Nguyen Bac
Truyen, a lawyer, was deemed responsible for organizing the
PDP-VN in HCMC. Truyen was also ordered to spread anti-GVN
fliers but reportedly was too scared to do so. Huynh Nguyen
Dao, another private businessman in HCMC, was allegedly
responsible for writing anti-GVN materials the dissemination of
400 fliers printed by Sang.

2. (SBU) A separate trial will be held for 8406 Bloc member and
independent union organizer Tran Quoc Hien on May 15 in HCMC.
Hien, Director of Saigon Legal Consultancy, is accused of
"inciting" land protestors to demonstrate and of writing and
disseminating on the Internet anti-Party and anti-GVN materials.
He has been charged under Article 88 of the penal code for
"anti-GVN propaganda" and under Article 89 for "disturbing
security."

3. (SBU) HCMC television reported prominently that the HCMC
Communist Party Committee on Internal Political Security called
a meeting with the HCMC judges and prosecutors responsible for
the two dissident cases. The Party officials emphasized the
seriousness of the defendants' "violations of law," and
instructed the courts to impose heavy prison sentences.

4. (SBU) Family members of the four defendants told us that they
were unaware of the impending trials. Separately, the lawyer
for 8406 Bloc Member Truong Quoc Huy told us that he has yet to
be notified of a new trial date for his client. Huy's April 16
trial was postponed.

5. (SBU) Comment: The public announcement of the new dissident
trials coupled with ongoing media broadsides against other
detained dissidents (lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan
will be tried May 11 in Hanoi) indicate that the GVN is pressing
forward with its dissident crackdown. The Consul General and
HCMC PolOff will seek government permission to attend the
trials. Although the Party is routinely involved in directing
the outcome of "sensitive" cases, this is the first time of
which we are aware that the Party has explicitly and publicly
showcased its control over the judicial process. End Comment.

6. (SBU) Additional information on the four dissidents follows:

-- Huynh Nguyen Dao, aka Huynh Viet Lang, has been in custody
since August 15, 2006. Dao, 38, was trained as a reporter and
has a BA in Marxist-Leninist philosophy.

Born 1968, he studied in HCMC University of Social Sciences and
Humanities, Philosophy faculty.

-- Le Nguyen Sang, aka Nguyen Hoang Long, also was arrested on
August 15, 2006. Sang, 48, graduated from Hue medical school
and runs a private clinic and pharmacy in HCMC. He is a member
of the Central Committee of the PDP-VN. The leaflets he
produced and distributed called for the elimination of Article
Four of the Vietnamese Constitution, which codifies single party
rule in Vietnam.

-- Nguyen Bac Truyen, 37, reportedly was trained as a lawyer,
although he was not registered by the HCMC Bar Association. He
is a member of the Central Committee of the PDP-VN. Truyen has
been in custody since January 2007.

-- Tran Quoc Hien is a member of the 8406 Bloc dissident
movement as well as spokesperson for the United Workers-Farmers
Organization (UWFO) of Viet Nam. Hien was arrested in January
2007.

WINNICK

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