Vietnam Security Forces Detain Two Prominent Dissidents

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By BosNewsLife News Center

HANOI, VIETNAM (BosNewsLife) -- Two prominent human rights activist remained in custody Tuesday, January 30, a day after Vietnamese security forces arrested them in Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon, fellow dissidents said.

In a letter to the United States Embassy in Hanoi, obtained by BosNewsLife, they said that Do Nam Hai and Nguyen Phong were both arrested after a meeting in Hai's home.

Hai and Phong are members of the pro-democracy groups Bloc 8406 and Alliance of Democracy and Human Rights in Vietnam fighting for religious and political reforms, said the International Movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Vietnam which wrote the letter.

The arrests came also shortly after Hai was "awarded a prize and a honorable recognition" by the international Human Rights Watch group "for his dedication to work on the improvement of violations of human rights" in Vietnam.

POLICE CUSTODY

"Hai has been currently under police custody. We are seeking your humanitarian intervention in these recent arrests of Hai and Phong which aim to cripple our dedicated human rights leaders in Vietnam," the International Movement said.

Hai's colleague Nguyen Phong, who is also the founder of Vietnam Progression Party, was reportedly detained in Ho Chi Minh City following talks with religious leaders and Hai.

"At 15:30PM [local time] when he left Hai’s home he was arrested by [the city's] Phu Nhuan Precinct’s police," the International Movement said.

"Nguyen Phong has been currently under police custody. He cannot be reached by his family," the group added. It was not immediately clear on what charges both men were apparently arrested.

GOVERNMENT DENIAL

The Vietnamese authorities have denied human rights abuses and the United States recently dropped Vietnam from its list of 'Countries of Particular Concern" regarding religious rights abuses.

However both dissidents and human rights groups say Christians and pro-democracy activists fighting for both religious and political freedoms continue to be harassed in the Communist nation.

At least hundreds of Christians and rights activists are jailed throughout the country, rights activists estimate. (With BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos and reports from Vietnam. www.bosnewslife.com)

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