Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
France - Vietnam 14 December 2007

Newly released journalist says thanks for international campaign

Nguyen Thi Thanh Van, the French journalist and activist who was detained from 17 November to 12 December in Ho Chi Minh City, gave a news conference at Reporters Without Borders headquarters in Paris this morning in which she talked of her fears while held and thanked all those who campaigned for her release.

"Locked in my cell, I was anxious because I could not imagine how I would ever get out of this situation," she said. "There was never any violence against me, but I was interrogated for one or two hours by policemen every day except Sundays. They tried to unsettle me. It was a form of moral terror."

Than Van works for Vietnamese exile community media, including radio Chan Troi Moi (New Horizon - http://www.radiochantroimoi.com), which broadcasts to Vietnam on the medium wave.

"When you are released and discover all that was done on your behalf, it warms the heart," she said. "I had this concern while in prison that people did not know what was happening to me. At the same time, I was shocked by all the lies and manipulation in the Vietnamese media. It bore no relation to what I was saying during interrogation."

Her lawyer, Serge Lewisch, said: "It was a happy outcome, but the risk was enormous. She faced the possibility of life imprisonment on these terrorism charges. And the way the authorities were drawing other things into this case was dangerous for her. It is significant that during all this time I was unable to find a Vietnamese lawyer who dared to defend her. It is an indication of the lack of freedom in Vietnam."

Bui Xuan Quang, the head of the Thanh Van support committee, thanked all those who participated in the campaign including former French government minister Françoise Hostalier, who interceded with both French and Vietnamese governments. "The Vietnamese ambassador to France told Madame Hostalier that distributing leaflets was a very serious crime," he said.

Do Hoang Diem, the head of the Viet Tan (Reform) party said: "This case confirms that international pressure is fundamental in this kind of case that the Hanoi regime is not ready to abandon its repressive policy towards dissidents."

Pointing out that a journalist, Father Nguyen Van Ly, and eight cyber-dissidents are still imprisoned in Vietnam, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said: "We welcome this happy outcome, but we should not stop here. The repression against journalists and dissidents continues, as shown in the conviction two days ago of four trade unionists for giving information to Radio Free Asia."




In this country
20 February - Vietnam
Government frees cyber-dissident while keeping online activities under strict control
19 January - Vietnam
Government announces early release of journalist Nguyen Viet Chien
5 December - Vietnam
Leading blogger’s conviction upheld on appeal
15 October - Vietnam
Newspaper reporter’s two-year sentence deals severe blow to press freedom
10 September - Vietnam
Blogger gets two and a half years in prison after “unfair and unfounded” conviction on tax fraud charge

in the annual report
Vietnam - Annual report 2007
Vietnam - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised