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[] Re: Viet Nam: Sentence reduced for cyber dissident at appeal,

From: Amnesty International <ai-news -!
- amnesty -
Subject:        	Viet Nam: Sentence reduced for cyber 
dissident at appeal
Date sent:      	Tue, 26 Aug 2003 04:47:43 -0700

> News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty 
> AI INDEX: ASA 41/025/2003     26 August 2003   
> Viet Nam: Sentence reduced for cyber dissident at appeal
> Today, prisoner of conscience, Dr Pham Hong Son, had his 13 
year prison sentence for espionage reduced to five years in 
detention and three years house arrest at an appeal hearing in 
> "While we welcome the unprecedented move to reduce his prison 
term, we are dismayed that Dr Pham Hong Son remains in prison 
for the peaceful expression of his political beliefs," Amnesty 
International said. The organization has been calling for his 
immediate and unconditional release since his arrest in March 
2002 and issued a report on his case after his trial in June 2003.
> Dr Pham Hong Son was charged with espionage after translating 
an article "What is Democracy?" from the website of the United 
States embassy in Viet Nam, and sending it over the Internet to 
both friends and senior party officials. He also wrote an article 
"Hopeful signs for Democracy in Viet Nam" which was again 
transmitted to senior party officials. In none of his activities did Dr 
Pham Hong Son advocate violence in his opposition to the 
Vietnamese Government and their policies.
> "His trial lasted little over two hours and the appeal was held, like 
the trial, behind closed doors with limited access to family and no 
press or diplomatic representatives present. There has been no 
information provided as to why his original sentence has been so 
drastically reduced," said Amnesty International.
> "How many Pham Hong Son's are languishing in Viet Nam's 
prisons?," asked Amnesty International. "We are concerned about 
the faceless individuals who do not benefit from the same 
international attention and outcry given to this case," continued the 
> Dr Pham Hong Son's case is one of several recent instances of 
dissidents being arrested and subjected to cursory trials lasting a 
few hours behind closed doors and resulting in lengthy prison 
sentences. In many of these cases, the dissidents concerned have 
propagated their ideas and other information though the Internet.
> "The rights to freedom of expression and access to information 
and Viet Nam's obligations to uphold these rights apply equally in 
cyberspace as anywhere else. We believe that a greater degree of 
openness and a willingness to accept constructive criticism would 
help guarantee basic rights which Viet Nam has committed to," 
added the organization.
> ****************************************************************
> For more information , please go to:
> Take action on behalf of well-known dissident and medical doctor 
Nguyen Dan Que! Please visit http://amnesty-
> View all documents on Viet Nam at
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Mit freundlichen Gruessen

Oliver Benjamin Hemmerle

Dr. Oliver Benjamin Hemmerle, M.A.
Postfach 120840
68059 Mannheim (Baden)
BR Deutschland / RF d'Allemagne / FR of Germany

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