Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thai journalist held without charge in Viet Nam

The Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed grave concerns about the continued detention of Thai journalist Somsak Khunmi, arrested shortly after reporting on a protest held in Ho Chi Minh City.

In a letter to Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet, dated January 11, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said that “despite detaining Somsak for nearly two months and running photographs of his interrogation sessions in the state media, your government has failed to lodge any formal, evidence-based charges against him.”

He added, “Article 69 of your country’s constitution broadly protects press freedom and freedom of expression. In practice, however, successive Communist Party-led administrations have applied criminal and national security laws to arbitrarily stifle these essential democratic freedoms.

Not only does the imprisonment of Somsak raise disturbing questions about your government’s commitment to upholding the national constitution, but the broader crackdown now under way on freedom of expression in Vietnam greatly undermines your government’s reform credentials in the wider world.”

For the full letter, click here.


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