Vietnam Path Movement’s statement on the early release of blogger Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai

Today, October 21, 2014, the government of Vietnam released blogger Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai early from prison, escorted him to Noi Bai International Airport and exiled him to a third country (believed to be the United States of America) without anyone knowing, including Mr. Nguyen’s family members.

Mr. Nguyen’s family and the public have gathered from the U.S. Department of State as well as leaked information from the airport workers to conclude that Mr. Nguyen Van Hai was made a “refugee” by his own government and would be traveling to the U.S. At present time, there have been absolute no explanation from the Vietnam government with regard to the early release of Mr. Nguyen Van Hai from his prison sentence.

Accordingly, the Vietnam Path Movement hereby announces:

1. While the release of any Prisoner of Conscience is often viewed favorably as goodwill from the government that recognizes its own wrongdoings, in response to the international demand for improving human rights in Vietnam, this secretive and hurried release of Mr. Nguyen Van Hai have diminished any goodwill the Vietnam government might have had and completely tarnished its reputation as a state. Especially, with regard to Mr. Nguyen Van Hai’s case, this release should have been done long before today because he has always been an innocent man. What Mr. Nguyen has done was only to exercise his civil rights and human rights when he opposed China’s aggression peacefully.

2. In recent months, due to the pressure from the international community in response to its records on human rights, the Vietnam government has made some concessions by the early release of some of its Prisoner of Conscience prior to the expiration of their sentences. This conduct clearly shows that the government is oppressing its innocent citizens who raise their voices to object peacefully, in order to exchange for the endorsement of the international community. At the same time, they continue to increase their threats, harassment as well as imprisonment of other citizens. Such conducts is not only morally wrong toward its own citizens, but it also clearly demonstrates a lack of sincerity toward democratization of the country as well as the lack of good faith in international relations.

The Vietnam Path Movement therefore calls on the Vietnam government to immediately and unconditionally release the other Prisoners of Conscience who are currently being held, especially Mrs. Ta Phong Tan – a colleague of Mr. Nguyen who was also arrested and convicted in the infamous case of the Free Journalists Club along with him and blogger Anh Ba Sai Gon, and others such as Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Mr. Viet Khang, Mr. Phan Ngoc Tuan, Mr. Nguyen Huu Vinh Anh Ba Sam, etc. as they are all innocent victims of the following arbitrary penal code sections 79, 88, and 258 of the Vietnam Penal Code as those code sections were used to silence dissident voices.

We join Mr. Nguyen Van Hai, his family and friends in this celebrating moment. At the same time, we continue to call on other civil society organizations and individual activists to continue to fight for the unconditional release of the other Prisoners of Conscience and to abolish the above-mentioned wrongful penal code sections.

October 21, 2014.

On behalf of the Vietnam Path Movement

VPM Spokesperson

Le Quoc Tuan

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