World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Viet Nam: Another elderly dissident to trial

Viet Nam: Another elderly dissident to be brought to trial

Yet another elderly dissident, an Amnesty International member, is to be brought to trial next week in Ho Chi Minh City. Dr Nguyen Dan Que, 62, a distinguished doctor, former hospital director and long-standing human rights activist, will be tried on Monday 19 July having spent 16 months in detention in Ho Chi Minh City.

"Why do the Vietnamese authorities lock up, for years at a time, distinguished old men for nothing more than speaking their minds?" Amnesty International asked today. "Dr Nguyen Dan Que should never have been arrested and must be released immediately and without conditions."

Dr Que was arrested on 17 March 2003 outside his home in Ho Chi Minh City while on the way to an Internet café. It is believed that his arrest was prompted by a statement he issued on 13 March asserting that there was no freedom of information in Viet Nam. The statement was circulated via the Internet and published outside Viet Nam.

Dr Que was initially held incommunicado and only in recent months has his wife been allowed to meet him in prison. He is in bad health and is known to be suffering from kidney stones, a bleeding ulcer and high blood pressure that requires medication.

"Dr Nguyen Dan Que -- a winner of numerous international human rights awards -- has worked tirelessly to defend the fundamental human rights of his fellow Vietnamese. His repeated imprisonment is both a personal and national tragedy," Amnesty International added.

Amnesty International understands that he is to be charged with "abusing democratic rights to jeopardize the interests of the State" -- the same charge levelled against two other elderly dissidents, who were brought to trial in the last two weeks. Dr Nguyen Dan Que has not been permitted to meet with a lawyer and his family have not been given a formal charge sheet detailing the accusations against him. It is likely, therefore, that he will have no legal defence at his trial.

Amnesty International is calling on the Vietnamese authorities to ensure that Dr Que's trial meets with international fair trial standards and is open to outside observers.


Dr Que has previously been imprisoned twice, for a total of 18 years. In February 1978, he was arrested and accused of "rebelling against the regime" and forming a "reactionary organization named the National Front of Progress". He was released in 1988 after 10 years of imprisonment without trial.

He was arrested again in June 1990 after he founded the Cao Trao Nhan Ban (High Tide of Humanism Movement) that called for democratic change. He also became a member of Amnesty International, which was used as an accusation against him. In November 1991, he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for "activities aimed at overthrowing the People's Government." He was released under a special amnesty in September 1998. On both occasions, Dr Que was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

View all documents on Viet Nam

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news