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Cablegate: Mfa Update On Some Detainees of Concern

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HANOI 000219

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

DEPT FOR DRL and EAP/BCLTV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PINS VM
SUBJECT: MFA update on some detainees of concern

Ref: A. FBIS JPP20030109000137 B. HCMC 052
- C. 02 HANOI 3096

1. (SBU) In response to inquiry from poloff on January 28,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Organization
Department Senior Expert Hong Bich Lien provided updates on
the status of several prominent activists whose detentions
have sparked international and USG concern. She promised on
January 29 to provide further information about reported
detentions of three relatives and one associate of Father
Nguyen Van Ly.

2. (SBU) Pham Que Duong and Tran Van Khue: Ms. Lien
confirmed that Duong and Khue are under investigative
detention (refs b and C), without disclosing their current
location(s). She added that the investigation was for
"transmitting secret documents abroad" and for "receiving
money from outside (overseas) for their activities." A
January 9 Foreign Ministry public statement (ref a) had
confirmed that the two were under detention, but only
characterized them as "caught redhanded while carrying out
activities that seriously violate Vietnamese laws." Ms.
Lien stated categorically that Pham Que Duong's wife was
not/not under detention. She promised to check whether
anyone else had been detained along with Duong after poloff
noted a report that police had detained a third person, Ho
Thu, along with Duong and his wife (ref c).

3. (SBU) Pham Hong Son: Ms. Lien said that she believed
that Son's case had gone to the Procuracy, indicating that a
trial may take place soon after the Tet holidays. Poloff
cited reports about Son's difficulties in obtaining legal
representation. Ms. Lien agreed to send a note to the
Procuracy enquiring about his case, especially whether Son
has now been able to hire a lawyer.

4. (SBU) Nguyen Vu Binh: Ms. Lien had no information
about Binh, confessing that she was handling so many
inquiries that she had lost track of his case. She promised
to check with either the Ministry of Public Security or the
Procuracy about Binh's current status.

5. (SBU) Le Chi Quang: Embassy also asked MFA to check on
the status of Quang in prison, especially in regard to his
health, access to medical treatment, and prison conditions.

6. (SBU) Comment: MFA/IO's willingness to provide some
information is welcome, even if the news is not encouraging.
The apparent charges against Duong and Khue are especially
worrisome, as they suggest probable heavy sentences.
BURGHARDT

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