Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, March 19, 2007

Viet Nam to contemplate releasing journalist

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has alluded to the possibility of releasing imprisoned journalist Nguyen Vu Binh, The Washington Post reported Saturday. This possibility was raised after Khiem met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who brought up the case in last Friday’s meeting. Binh has been in prison since 2002 on a seven-year sentence. The journalist’s health could be a key issue, as his family has reported that the 39-year-old, who has hypertenion and liver disease, is no longer able to pick up his five year-old daughter.

Binh was the only person mentioned by name during the meeting between Rice and Khiemon, according to an unnamed U.S. official. Binh was a reporter for an official communist newspaper, but was arrested for allegedly spying by passing information over the internet to overseas groups. This potential release of Binh would come amidst a crackdown on journalists and pro-democracy activists that has intensified in recent weeks. Among the recently detained dissidents are two lawyers and a Catholic priest who is thought to be a founding member of the pro-democracy movement, “Block 8406.”

To read the article, click here.


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