The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is gravely concerned about the safety of 73-year-old Tran Dung Tien
, who was arrested on January 22, 2003, after writing an open letter calling for the release of imprisoned activists Pham Que Duong and Tran Khue.
At about 10:30 a.m. on January 22, Tien
was arrested at a photocopy shop in the capital, Hanoi, according to his wife, Duong Kim Hop.
On January 20, Tien
had distributed an open letter addressed to government leaders and the media calling for the release of imprisoned democracy activists Pham Que Duong and Tran Khue, who were arrested in late December 2002 after meeting at Khueâ€s home in Ho Chi Minh City.
In his January 20 letter, Tien
wrote, "I sincerely wish that patriots, those enamored of rights and justice, intellectuals, and former comrades-in-arms, including truly revolutionary military men, will all raise their voices to demand ... that Colonel Pham Que Duong and scholar Tran Khue be released at once.
...Tien is a former soldier in the Vietnamese army who served as a bodyguard to revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh in the 1940s.
In recent years, he
has written a number of open letters and essays calling for political reform and analyzing the failures of the communist leadership.On November 8, 2002, Tien
was briefly detained after protesting the trial of Internet essayist Le Chi Quang, who was sentenced to four years in prison for his
During the last year, several Vietnamese writers have been harassed, placed under tight surveillance, and imprisoned for publishing independent viewsâ€"part of a broad crackdown aimed at silencing dissent.CPJ respectfully reminds Your Excellency that the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed both by the Vietnamese Constitution and by the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.
As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, CPJ condemns your governmentâ€s detention of Tran Dung Tien
and calls for his
immediate and unconditional release.