In a letter addressed to Vietnamese minister of Public Security, general lieutenant Le Minh Huong, Reporters without Borders (RSF - Reporters Sans Frontières) protested against the roundup and placement under house arrest of the journalist and dissident Bui Minh Quoc. RSF considers this measure as equivalent to an imprisonment since it deprives the dissident of his freedom and his right to express himself.
"Once again, the Vietnamese government is violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it had ratified in September 1982, and whose article 19 guarantees freedom of expression", affirmed Robert Ménard, General secretary for the organisation. Therefore, RSF demands the end of the placement under house arrest for Bui Minh Quoc and his colleague Ha Sy Phu, under house arrest since March 2001, and the immediate release of the journalist Nguyen Dinh Huy, imprisoned since 1993.
According to the information gathered by RSF, journalist and dissident Bui Minh Quoc, was placed under arrest in his home of Dalat (south of the country), on 12 January 2002. That measure follows his roundup in the train station of Thanh Tri (suburb of Hanoi), on 8 January 2002. He had then been questioned for three days by the police who had seized more than three hundred documents regarded as "reactionary" by the authorities. The day before, Bui Minh Quoc had met a group of dissidents from Hanoi.
But according to a Vietnamese journalist who took refuge in France, the roundup and placement under house arrest of Bui Minh Quoc are connected to the investigation he had led for more than a month, in the Northern country, on the situation around these borders with China. Indeed, dissidents regularly denounce concessions, mostly in terms of territory, granted to Beijing authorities by the government of Hanoi. Bui Minh Quoc had gone to these provinces on a motorcycle, to collect testimonies on the situation. Among other things, the police seized several notebooks and picture films.
Bui Minh Quoc, member of the group of dissidents from Dalat, had already been placed under house arrest from April 1997 until the end of 1999 for having militated in favour of press freedom. That sanction forbids him to leave his neighbourhood and meet anybody without official authorisation. His telephone is cut off, his home guarded by policemen and his family under watch.