Cablegate: Gvn Provides Australia Updates On Detainees
UNCLAS HANOI 002208
STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV and DRL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV AS VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: GVN PROVIDES AUSTRALIA UPDATES ON DETAINEES
Ref: A) Hanoi 1615, B) Hanoi 1780
1. (SBU) During its annual human rights dialogue with the
Government of Australia (Ref. A), the GVN provided
information and case details about every individual on a
list of prisoners of concern previously delivered by the
Australian Embassy in Hanoi. An Australian diplomat
recently provided a copy to Poloff. The list largely
confirms already known details about imprisoned activists;
however some new information on certain detainees follows,
with relevant case details noted.
2. (U) Le Quang Liem: sentenced to a second consecutive two-
year term of administrative detention for "continued illegal
acts." Liem's sentence is due to finish on March 17, 2005,
although the GVN notes, "he is expecting an early release
from probation." [Note: Liem is an independent Hoa Hao
Buddhist leader. End note]
3. (U) Ho Van Trong: released from prison on June 11, 2004,
six months before the end of his four-year prison term.
[Note: Truong is a Hoa Hao believer arrested December 20,
2000, after an incident in which a group of persons attacked
Hoa Hao believers led by Le Quang Liem at a festival. End
4. (U) Dinh Troi: sentenced to six months imprisonment "for
slander" on July 23, 1999, and released 23 January 2000.
[Note: Troi is an ethnic Hre Protestant house church leader.
Mission had heard of his detention, but received no response
from the GVN to requests for information about his status.
5. (SBU) Tran Van Luong: sentence commuted to 15 years
imprisonment. [Note: Luong is a former ARVN soldier who was
arrested on December 12, 1985, while distributing human
rights leaflets. He had originally been sentenced to death,
but this was later commuted to life imprisonment. Not to be
confused with another individual with the same name arrested
June 2004 for having "slandered leaders of the party,
government, and central bodies." (Ref. B) End note] As
Luong has already served more than 15 years, the GOA plans
to inquire as to why he remains imprisoned.
6. (SBU) Thich Tien Minh: originally arrested March 26,
1979. [Note: Thich Tien Minh is an UBVC monk originally
sentenced to life imprisonment for "activities to overthrow
the government." In previous information, the GVN stated he
had been arrested on March 21, 1987. On December 27, 1999,
his sentence was reduced to 20 years imprisonment. End Note]
Given the new information about Thich Tien Minh's original
date of arrest, it is not clear why he remains in prison.
The GOA intends to seek a clarification of his sentencing.
7. Comment: More notable than the information provided, is
that the GVN prepared such a formal and comprehensive
response to the GOA's inquiry. In November, the GVN
provided similar responses to a list of detainees presented
by the European Union during its own human rights dialogue
with the GVN. Lists given the GVN by Embassy and other USG
officials have led to partial responses at best, however,
and usually none at all. Embassy speculates that the GVN is
waiting for the "appropriate forum" - the resumption of our
bilateral human rights dialogue, which it desires - to reply
to our inquiries.