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Appeal for jailed lawyer on hunger strike

Wife makes plea for leading Vietnam dissident

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

Published: June 06, 2013 10:22 AM GMT

Updated: June 05, 2013 11:57 PM GMT

Appeal for jailed lawyer on hunger strike

The wife of Vietnam’s most famous prisoner of conscience, Cu Huy Ha Vu, yesterday posted an open letter online calling on authorities to save her husband from a hunger strike.

Vu, a lawyer, started his protest in a prison in northern Thanh Hoa province on May 27 after guards failed to pass on critical letters he wanted to send to senior government officials including President Truong Tan Sang.

“Lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu, who loves the country and people and is most concerned about the nation’s future, is being maltreated,” said the letter by his wife, Duong Thi Thu Ha.

“We have petitioned the most high ranking officials to release Vu and immediately improve his prison conditions but so far there has not been any reply from them,” she said.

Vu, who is 55 years old and suffers from congenital heart disease, was found guilty of spreading propaganda against the government through articles posted online and interviews to foreign journalists. He was sentenced in April 2011 to seven years in prison and a further three years of house arrest. 

Ha, who is also a lawyer, described the sentence as a “stubborn stain” on the government.

“What Vu did – wrote and spoke for the country’s development – has been proven right by reality and accepted by society,” she said.

She last visited her husband on June 1. 

Vu started his strike after requesting a meeting with Ha in a private room, along with some personal items and court documents which he planned to use to appeal. None of his demands were met.

Since his arrest in 2011 Western governments have been appealing for his release.

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