November 22, 2019
VNHRN Statement About The Arrest of Journalist Pham Chi Dung
According to the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), its President Pham Chi Dung was arrested and prosecuted on November 21, 2019 by Vietnamese authorities, per Article 117 of the Penal Code which reads ‘Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam’.
Journalist Pham Chi Dung was one of the founding members & chairman of the IJAVN, a civil society organization formed in July 2014. During its five years of operation, the IJAVN, and particularly journalist Pham Chi Dung, have rightly exercised their right to free speech by providing critical but peaceful voices, for which the Vietnamese people greatly appreciate. In 2014, Pham Chi Dung was listed among the world’s Information Heroes of Reporters Without Borders.
According to Vietnam District Attorney's Office, journalist Pham Chi Dung is being detained for 4 months for investigation, and later on – if & when found guilty – would be sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment.
Given that journalist Pham Chi Dung was arrested on a baseless charge, the Vietnam Human Rights Network hereby urgently makes the following statements:
1. The arrest of journalist Pham Chi Dung is a blatant violation of the press freedom and freedom of association specifically listed in Vietnam‘s current Constitution, as well as the United Nations’ International Law on Human Rights that Vietnam has solemnly ratified and pledged to adhere.
2. The Vietnamese government must immediately release journalist Pham Chi Dung, and stop criminalizing legitimate activities of independent journalists.
3. We call on the United States and the European Union to urge the Vietnamese authorities to respect human rights as prerequisites for any economic and military treaties with Vietnam.