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Vietnam 22 August 2006

Authorities again abduct one of the Kiem Street chat room users

Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediate release of Truong Quoc Huy, who was arrested by the security services in an Internet café in Ho Chi Minh City on 18 August after just six weeks of freedom. Truong was previously arrested last October along with his brother and his brother’s fiancée for participating in a pro-democracy chat room. All three were held for nine months.

“We regard this as abduction since the security services have behaved in an utterly illegal manner,” the press freedom organisation said. “Truong was already held for months without being tried and without even being able to see a lawyer. It is high time the government told its political police to put an end to such arbitrary methods.”

Aged 25, Truong was arrested on 18 August by plain-clothes police who followed him into the Internet café and caught him as he was connecting to a democracy chat room on the PalTalk site. As before, he has been accused of wanting to “overthrow the government.” His brother, Truong Quoc Tuan, 28, was also arrested and interrogated by the police. He was released the next day but placed under house arrest.

Truong Quoc Huy is reportedly also accused of giving interviews to foreign radio stations such as Radio Free Asia following his release on 7 July. In the interviews, he voiced support for the 8406 Group, a pro-democracy movement founded in April, some of whose members are also being currently harassed by the authorities.

The Truong brothers were arrested along with Lisa Pham at their home at 603 Nguyen Kiem Street in Ho Chi Minh City on 19 October 2005 and were charged with inciting the population to “overthrow the government” by participating in a pro-democracy chat room on Paltalk. All three were held for nine months without being able to see lawyers or relatives.

Pham, who is a US resident, returned to the United States following their release on 7 July. Truong Quoc Tuan is in financial straits as the computer shop he had before his arrest went bankrupt and it is now very hard for him to get a job.

Two other cyberdissidents, Pham Hong Son and Nguyen Vu Binh, are still detained in Vietnam, which Reporters Without Borders has classified as one of the world’s 15 worst Internet enemies.


Truong Quoc Huy and Truong Quoc Tuan

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