UCA News

US slams travel ban on leading blogger

Rights activist stopped at airport on way to receive award
US slams travel ban on leading blogger
Published: December 19, 2012 08:31 AM GMT
Updated: December 18, 2012 10:51 PM GMT

The US yesterday criticized the Vietnamese government for preventing a prominent blogger from traveling to the US to receive a prestigious award from Human Rights Watch.

Huynh Trong Hieu said that police detained him at Ho Chi Minh City airport on Sunday as he was about to travel to the US to collect the Hellman Hammett prize on behalf of father Huynh Ngoc Tuan and sister Huynh Thuc Vy - also bloggers - who won for “peacefully exercising their freedom of expression.”

“We are troubled by the intervention of Vietnamese authorities,” the US embassy in Hanoi said in a statement.

Hieu was questioned at the airport for two hours where officials took his passport, which included a valid US visa, and ordered him to pay fines of 270 million dong (US$13,000).

In November last year, security officials in central Quang Nam province went to his family home and confiscated computers and other electronic communication equipment and fined the family for “producing articles against the Communist party and national solidarity.”

The US yesterday urged the Vietnamese government to “lift travel restrictions on Mr Hieu and take steps to allow his family and Vietnamese to peacefully express their views without fear of retribution.”

Hieu, 25, started to write articles opposing the government in 2010 while his father Tuan, 49, was condemned to 10 years in jail and a subsequent three years under house arrest for “propaganda against the government” in 1992, one year after his wife’s death.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed the Ministry of Public Security to “stop violent disturbances and plots from reactionaries and the establishment of opposition political organizations which go against the country’s benefits."

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia