Vietnamese human rights lawyer and blogger Nguyen Van Dai was arrested on December 16 by Vietnamese authorities. The United States is deeply concerned by the arrest of Nguyen Van Dai for alleged "propaganda against the State" under national security-related Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code. It is the same charge on which he was sentenced to four years in prison in 2007. If convicted, he faces three to 20 years in prison.
Mr. Dai writes occasional blog posts for Radio Free Asia, or RFA. In a recent interview with RFA, he described how authorities have been harassing him and the people working for Luong Tam TV, an independent Web TV channel, since its launch last August. In addition, Mr. Dai reported policemen in Nghe An province assaulted him on December 6, after he organized a meeting related to human rights.
The United States urges Vietnam to ensure its laws and actions are consistent with its international obligations and commitments. "We call on the government to release unconditionally all prisoners of conscience," said State Department spokesperson John Kirby, "and allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their political views without fear of retribution."