Monday, January 03, 2005

Rights groups protest Do Nam Hai's treatment

Two press freedom groups have asked the Vietnamese government to stop harassing pro-democracy writer Do Nam Hai, pen name Phuong Nam. Describing Vietnam's treatment of dissidents as "appalling", Committee to Protect Journalists director Ann Cooper urged Vietnamese authorities to allow him the right to freely express his opinions. The other group, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, hailed Hai's courage and protested his harassment. Hai, a 44-year-old banker living in HCM City, had written some articles while living abroad in the late 1990s criticizing corruption and the lack of democracy in Vietnam. In an open appeal to the authorities, dated Dec. 10, 2004 (text below), Hai protested his mistreatment, which over the last five months has included having been detained twice, interrogated repeatedly, and having his computer confiscated. He vowed to continue speaking for a more democratic and less corrupt society in the country. (Deutsche Press-Agentur, Dec. 24; Reporters Without Borders, Dec. 21; Committee to Protect Journalists, Dec. 23.


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