A file image of dissident Nguyen Bac Truyen being led to Ho Chi Minh-City People's Court on May 10, 2007. Amnesty International has launched a campaign calling for the Vietnamese government to release Truyen who was recently abducted by state security officials. (Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP)
Amnesty International has called on people to urgently ask Vietnam to respect the rights of a detained human rights activist accused of subversion.
Nguyen Bac Truyen, a former prisoner of conscience, was last seen on July 30 after dropping off his wife outside her place of work in Ho Chi Minh City.
"His wife has received no official confirmation from police as to the accusations against him or his place of detention," said Amnesty International in a statement.
The organization said on the same day that Truyen was forcibly disappeared, three other activists were formally arrested.
State media reported that the four activists were arrested for "carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people's government" under Article 79 of the Penal Code. The offence, which falls under the vaguely worded "national security," provides for a sentence of at least five years up to life imprisonment or capital punishment.
Amnesty International said Truyen's family fear for his safety because he "suffers from heart and bowel conditions that could deteriorate if he does not have access to the medication he requires."
"He is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment," said Amnesty International.
The organization called on people to write to urge Vietnamese authorities to disclose Truyen's whereabouts and "release him immediately and unconditionally if he is in state custody, as it appears he has been deprived of his liberty solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association."
Before his arrest, Truyen was a member of the local Political and Religious Prisoners Friendly Association and worked for the Redemptorist-run Justice and Peace Office.