Press Release by Bloc 8406
on the subject of the release from prison of
Doctor Pham Hong Son & Pastor Ma Van Bay

Viet Nam, August 30th, 2006

Dr. Pham Hong Son and Past. Ma Van Bay were officially released from prison by the Vietnamese Communist Regime on August 30th, 2006.

Bloc 8406 cordially and enthusiastically welcomes the release of the exemplary, heroic, peaceful fighter for Democracy, Dr. Pham Hong Son.

His release is a victory for the Vietnamese People inside and outside Viet Nam who care about Democracy and Human Rights, who for the last four years, have continuously and effectively fought to pressure the Vietnamese Communist Regime to return full freedom to Dr. Pham Hong Son. However, he is still not completely free as he remains under a forceful and unfair house arrest for the next 3 years.

Dr. Son and his family after his release from jail

Dr. Pham Hong was born in 1968 in Nam Dinh, and lived and worked in Ha Noi. He translated and disseminated the document, “What is Democracy?,” taken from the website of the U.S. embassy in Viet Nam. As a result, he was put in prison in Ha Noi on March 27th, 2002. In his preliminary trial on June 18th, 2003, the Ha Noi Supreme Court of the People found him guilty of the crime of “espionage,” and sentenced him to 13 years in prison. After that, in an appeal trial on August 26th, 2003, the Supreme Court of the People kept the original conviction’s “espionage” charge, but reduced the sentence to 5 years in prison plus an additional three years of administrative detention or house arrest after his release date. Since then, for nearly five years, Dr. Pham Hong Son and his family have relentlessly fought to expunge this ridiculous “espionage” charge.

One day before the second trial, Mr. Lin Neumann, representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) a non-governmental organization, commented: “It is our position that the Vietnamese government’s actions are in opposition to the modernization and improvement of Viet Nam, and to the use of the internet which should instead improve every day, as well as any concern for the press and the right to free expression; this trial has already done and is still doing damage to the name of Viet Nam; it is a disaster for the fate and destiny of the press in Viet Nam.”

Before the appeal trial, Mr. Daniel Alberman, an Amnesty International spokesperson, stated with tentative optimism, “Amnesty International hopes that this appeal will be an opportunity to right a terrible wrong and will result in the release of a prisoner of conscience.”

Despite all these just appeals, the Viet Nam judicial system remained indifferent and apathetic. On top of all of this, on August 21st, 2006, Dr. Pham Hong Son’s father passed away, and although Dr. Pham Hong Son himself was plagued with illness, the Vietnamese Communist Regime refused to grant him a 10-day early release to attend his father’s funeral.

Bloc 8406 also cordially and enthusiastically welcomes the release of the Pastor Ma Van Bay from the unjust goals of Vietnamese Communist Regime.

Mr. Ma Van Bay, a H’Mong Pastor of the Protestant Church in Ha Giang province, was hunted by his religious conviction, therefore fled to Binh Phuoc province. He was arrested in November 2003 and on Nov 29th, 2003 he was extradited to Ha Giang province and was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 2004.

On this occasion, Bloc 8406 calls for all groups of Vietnamese People who care about Democracy and Human Rights, inside Viet Nam and abroad, to speak up to pressure the Vietnamese Communist Regime to release unconditionally and immediately:

) Journalist Nguyen Vu Binh, who has been in prison since September 25th, 2002, after being found guilty of the charge of “espionage”. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison plus an additional 3 years of house arrest. His true “crime” was to submit a “petition to organize a democratic party”.

2) Many other current political prisoners who were wrongfully convicted and sent to prison by the “shameful judicial system of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.”

In addition, we call for the People to pressure the Vietnamese Communist government to halt immediately any form of unjust and cruel harassment or any arrest of peaceful fighters for Democracy throughout Viet Nam today.

More than ever, the road to Democratization of Vietnam is experiencing many positive, favorable opportunities both inside Vietnam and in the international community. All members of Bloc 8406 earnestly promise to unite with the People and for the People, and we continue to courageously fight to regain freedom and democracy for the Vietnamese People.

The Vietnamese People demand authentic Freedom and Democracy!
The Vietnamese People do not need a false pretense of Democracy!

Interim Representatives of Bloc 8406
Consisting of tens of thousands of Peaceful Democratic Fighters
inside and outside of Viet Nam :

Do Nam Hai, Engineer, Saigon
Tran Anh Kim, Former Army Officer, Thai Binh
Father Nguyen Van Ly, Catholic Priest, Hue