Vietnam - Cyber-dissident pardoned and freed on eve of president's visit to United States



    VIETNAM, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today hailed
the release of cyber-dissident Nguyen Vu Binh on 9 June under a presidential
amnesty as a "great relief" but said it should not be forgotten that he spent
nearly five years in prison solely for what he posted online.
    "This news should not divert attention from the ongoing crackdown on
Vietnamese dissidents, either," the press freedom organisation said. "Binh's
release on the eve of a visit by President Nguyen Minh Triet was prompted more
by a desire to create a good impression on the international community than
any real intention to improve the human rights situation in Vietnam."
    Arrested on 25 September 2002, Binh was sentenced on 31 December 2003 to
seven years in prison and three years of house arrest for posting
"reactionary" articles on the Internet and for keeping in touch with
"subversive dissidents."
    President Triet will begin his visit to the United States on 22 June.
US President George W. Bush has voiced "deep concern" about the recent
increase in arrests of pro-democracy activists in Vietnam and said such
actions would inevitably limit the growth of bilateral relations.
    Eight cyber-dissidents are still being held in Vietnam because of
articles they posted on the Internet.




For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Directrice générale, Reporters
Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514) 521-7771,
rsfcanada@rsf.org

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