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Malaysian complicity in cyber-dissident’s arrest by Vietnam

Vietnamese cyber-dissident Vu Quang Thuan’s deportation by Malaysia and his arrest by the Vietnamese authorities on arrival at Ho Chi Minh City airport on February 2 has been condemned by Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF). He is now facing a possible 20-year jail sentence of a charge of anti-state propaganda. No date has been set for his trial.

Aged 44 and a leader of the Vietnam Progressive Democratic Movement, an opposition party founded in 2007, Thuan fled in 2009 to Malaysia, where he continued to post pro-democracy articles online. He was arrested when he tried to set himself on fire in Kuala Lumpur last April.

RSF said it was outraged by Malaysia’s decision to send Thuan back to Vietnam despite the probability that he would be arrested. It was tantamount to deliberately putting a person in danger. The Malaysian government now has a moral duty to do everything in its power to ensure that the Vietnamese authorities are lenient with Thuan and release him at once, it said.

RSF reiterated its condemnation of the months of increased repression before the Vietnamese Communist Party congress in January and called on the authorities to free all the jailed netizens and journalists without delay. Vietnam must comply with its international obligations and abandon its policy of controlling and suppressing news and information.

Vietnam is ranked 165th out of 178 countries in the 2010 RSF press freedom index and is on the RSF list of “Enemies of the Internet.” Malaysia is ranked 141st in the press freedom index and, as regards the Internet, is classified as a country “under surveillance.”

Date posted: February 15, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 149