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International Committee for Freedom to Support the Non-Violent Movement for Human Rights in Vietnam

For Immediate Release: February 27, 2011

International Committee for Freedom to Support the Non-Violent Movement for Human Rights in Vietnam

Call: Ms. Nathalie Nguyen
Phone: 703-606-6444

The Arrest of Political Dissident Nguyen Dan Que, M.D. in Vietnam

On Friday, February 25, 2011, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, a political dissident, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Laureate and Nobel Peace Prize nominee was arrested in Vietnam following his appeal for non-violent democratic demonstrations.

After an editorial in the Washington Post which emphasized the abuse of a U.S. diplomat for seeking to visit an arrested Catholic priest in Hue, and within hours of the public release of his appeal, Que was detained by state security officials. The Communist security police in District Five Cholon searched Que's home taking away his personal phone and computer -- his only means of communication. They not only interrogated Que from 1 to 5 P.M. at his home, but also took him to the police station headquarters for further questioning.

Security police interrogated Que for his call for mass demonstrations and accused him of seeking to overthrow the regime. Que insisted however, that he was abiding by fundamental human rights that are stated in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights that the communist regime had ratified and promised the Vietnamese people. Que cited the lack of freedom of expression and denial of press freedom. He criticized the communist government’s economic mismanagement resulting in rapidly increasing inflation, currency devaluation and budget deficits. Que also condemned rampant corruption which enriches government officials while the majority of the Vietnamese people remain poor. Above all, he condemned the regime for not safeguarding territorial integrity by ceding away national land and sea territories to China.

The police produced a distorted summary of Que’s call for mass demonstrations which Que adamantly refused to sign despite their efforts coercing him to. Unable to force him to admit to their version of the incident, and under international pressure, the police finally released Que, but ominously threatened that he would be called back for “working sessions” soon.

For more than 20 of the 35 years since the Communists conquered South Vietnam in 1975, Que has been imprisoned three times for a total of 20 years. Although at the moment he remains out of jail, he is unfortunately under constant house arrest.

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