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Cablegate: Blogger "Mama Mushroom" Released From Police Custody

VZCZCXRO4821
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHNH
DE RUEHHM #0596 2571038
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 141038Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6019
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 3916
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 6255

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000596

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND DRL/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL VM
SUBJECT: BLOGGER "MAMA MUSHROOM" RELEASED FROM POLICE CUSTODY

REF: Hanoi 926

1. (SBU) Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, penname "Mama Mushroom"
(Me Nam) and member of a group called the Vietnamese Patriots,
confirmed to ConGen staff that she was released from police
custody on September 12. Quynh was questioned by police on July
20 after printing and distributing T-shirts with anti-Chinese
slogans. Her computer was confiscated, and her husband was
interrogated by the police about her activities. Quynh was
arrested on September 2 (reftel).

2. (SBU) Quynh explained that she was released by authorities
only after she agreed to sign a pledge to stop blogging and cut
"any ties with any group or individuals that opposed the
government's policies." Her husband and mother also signed
pledges promising to monitor Quynh's blogging and activities.
Quynh's release order states that her violation was not serious
enough for criminal prosecution, and also took into
consideration the fact that she has a 33-month-old daughter.
Upon her release, Quynh posted a farewell entry on her blog,
stating she was no "hero" and would stop her "activities."

3. (SBU) Comment: Coming on the heels of the release of fellow
blogger Bui Thanh Hieu and VietNamNet journalist Pham Doan Tran,
Quynh's release is welcome news. Nevertheless, her arrest
serves as a warning to Vietnam's still-vibrant blog scene of the
dangers that can ensue when politically sensitive online
commentary is followed by political action, however innocuous
that action might seem. Equally telling is the Quynh's own
pledge not to continue blogging.

FAIRFAX

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