Cablegate: Dr. Que Under Detention

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





E. O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Poloff visited the home of democracy activist Dr.
Nguyen Dan Que on March 18 to confirm reports of his arrest
received earlier that day. Based on the information originally
provided by his brother in the U.S., and now confirmed by his
wife, it appears that a large number of security officers hustled
Dr. Que off to the local District 5 police station at 8:00 p.m. on
March 17. He was arrested in front of his home, without being
given an opportunity to go inside and retrieve additional clothing
or medications. The arresting officers on the scene accused him
of being on his way to an Internet cafe to publish criticisms of
the GVN. Police returned to Que's home in force just before
midnight the same day to search through his possessions. They
removed his computer and cell phone, as well as assorted documents
and written materials. Several officers took still photographs
and video footage during the search.

2. (SBU) The long, unlit alley leading to Dr. Que's home
appeared largely deserted when Poloff arrived at 7:30 p.m. on
March 18. Dr. Que's wife opened the door only long enough to
quickly usher Poloff inside. She appeared quite nervous and
agitated throughout the conversation. At one point, she sent a
relative out to photocopy the investigation report signed by the
police and family members upon completion of the search. Post now
has a copy of that report. Dr. Que's stepson had been brought to
the police station at 1:30 a.m. that morning to sign the report
and to obtain a legal record of what had been taken from his home.
Dr. Que's brother surmised that Dr. Que must have
characteristically insisted on the police producing a legal
document to entitle them to search. Fortunately, the stepson was
able to see Dr. Que at the time he signed the document. Police
later informed Dr. Que's wife that her husband had been moved to
the municipal jail in District 1, and allowed her to send clothing
and medicine. Dr. Que's wife did not know why the authorities had
decided to detain her husband at this time. She speculated that
it must have had something to do with one of his interviews with
the foreign news media, including Radio Free Asia. His brother
thought it might have something to do with Dr. Que's recent
criticism of GVN claims of a free press in Vietnam.

3. (SBU) During the conversation, Dr. Que's wife made clear that
she and her husband would appreciate any representations by the
Consulate General, in the hopes of gaining his release or
improving his treatment. She expressed concern that he had not
been feeling very well before this latest incident. (Post note:
Dr. Que is an endocrinologist and has been self-medicating an
ulcer and kidney ailments for a long time. His brother sends him
medication from the U.S. from time to time. End note.) Post will
follow up with the relevant local authorities.

4. (SBU) Comment: Dr. Que and his family have occasionally
raised exaggerated alarm bells in the past, but this incident
would seem to be the real thing. Just why the GVN would choose to
raise the stakes with a well-known figure like Dr. Que at this
time is not clear, given that he has been consistently outspoken
in his views over a period of time. It may be as simple (naive?)
as his brother's assumption that hardliners in the GVN hope the
USG would be otherwise distracted by events in Iraq.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>