Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ho Thi Bich Khuong's mistreatment protested

International Pen's Writers in Prison Committee is concerned over the ill-treatment and poor health of dissident writer Ho Thi Bich Khuong, it said in a press release issued Feb. 13. The commitee is calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and that she be given full access to proper medical care and family visits while she remains in prison.

Khuong was arrested April 25, 2007 at an Interner cafe in Nam Dan district of Nghe An province in northern Vietnam, for publishing reports on overseas websies about social injustice and human rights violations in the country. She is particularly known for her advocacy of woman farmers who have had their lands seized. Her computer and documents were confiscated from her home after her arrest.

She was not brought to trial until nearly a year after her arrest, on April 24, 2008, by a provincial court in Nghe An. She was charged with "storing cultural products with contents against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam", a violation of Article 88 of Vietnam's Criminal Code, and sentenced to two years in prison and three years administrative detention. She is detained in Labor Camp 6, Thanh My village, Thanh Chuong district of Nghe An province. Her sister who visited her on October 30, 2008 said she was heavily bruised and in poor health. The family has been denied visits since last December.

The press release also noted her past difficulties with authorities:

"Ho Thi Bich Khuong was previously detained in March 2005 and sentenced to six months in prison for her dissident writings. After her release she was subject to frequent brief detentions and harassment, including threats and attack. On 12 February 2007 she was seriously injured after being hit by a motorcyclist, thought to be a member of the security police. Her current imprisonment was not known to PEN until November 2008.

"Ho Thi Bich Khuong was born in 1967. In June 2006 her husband drowned in the Lam river under unexplained circumstances. She has a ten-year-old daughter."

Writers in Prison Committee is requesting that letters be sent to Vietnam government officials appealing for her immediate release, assurances that she is treated well in the meantime, and access to family visits and proper medical care.

source: International Pen Writers in Prison Committee press release, Feb. 11.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home