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Cablegate: Gvn to Release Imprisoned Cyber Dissident

VZCZCXRO5920
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0119 0310941
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310941Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7099
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4229
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS HANOI 000119

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND DRL/AWH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV VM

SUBJECT: GVN TO RELEASE IMPRISONED CYBER DISSIDENT


1. (SBU) Imprisoned journalist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was tried and
sentenced today by the Hanoi People's Court to nine months and 10
days or time served and is expected to be released imminently,
according to Thuy's husband, who attended the trial. Foreign
diplomats were not allowed to attend the three-hour morning trial
and were asked to remove themselves from the sidewalk in front of
the courthouse. The Court charged Thuy with "violating social order
and security." She allegedly refused to cooperate with authorities
during her nine-month detention and investigation and refused a
court-appointed lawyer.

2. (SBU) Thuy, a writer and journalist, was arrested at her home in
Hanoi on April 21, 2007 in a crackdown that included the arrest of
several other cyber dissidents. She was charged under Article 88 of
the GVN criminal code for "conducting propaganda against the State"
and held for over nine-months in a Hanoi detention facility without
contact with her family or a lawyer. Thuy, a 47-year old mother of
two, suffers from tuberculosis and diabetes and her husband was not
allowed to transmit medication nor letters from her children during
her incarceration. "Reporters Without Borders" circulated a
petition on her case, and her case attracted the attention of
overseas Vietnamese activists in the United States and Australia.

3. (SBU) Because of Thuy's political views, she allegedly was never
published in Vietnam. She wrote often for Vietnamese websites
overseas under different pseudonyms ("Nguyen Thai Hoang," "Nguyen
Thai Binh" and "Nguyen Thi Hien"). During her confinement, the
Embassy was in regular contact with Thuy's family and the Ambassador
specifically raised her case with the Ministry of Public Security.


4. (SBU) Comment: The government's case against Thuy was never
strong. Authorities reportedly tried to link her to Vietnamese
American activist Ly Tong (a former prisoner in Vietnam, known for
flying a plane over Ho Chi Minh City to drop pro-democracy pamphlets
and then parachuting out) who allegedly transferred money to Thuy to
distribute to land rights protesters in Hanoi. The evidence and
crime were never clear. Her release is a welcome development.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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