Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nguyen Phong speaks out

Reporters Without Borders has published at its website two statements of Nguyen Phong, on March 17 and March 30, in response to his arrest and trial. Phong received a six year prison sentence in the half-day trial on March 30 of Father Nguyen Van Ly and four others in Hue (see below). At the conclusion of that trial, Phong told the judge, “I will continue to fight for the values of freedom and democracy on behalf of the Vietnamese nation.”

Phong, who is President of the Thang Tien Vietnam party, challenged the constitutionality of Article 88 under which he and his co-defendants were charged. He said this provision of the Criminal Code, which prohibits spreading anti-government propaganda, contradicts "clauses 2 and 69 of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s constitution and entirely in the spirit of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights." He said the goal of his party was "advancing Vietnam’s progress in all areas by means of an open but peaceful struggle against the Communist Party."

He described his trial as a "parody" and said the government's behavior toward him was "utterly unscrupulous."

Source: Text of both statements published by Reporters Without Borders, April 3.


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