Dinh Dang Dinh overleden

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is with profound sadness that blogger and teacher Dinh Dang Dinh, also freelance journalist and environmental activist, has passed away last night (3  April 2014) at his home in Dak Nong, Viet Nam at the age of 51.

For memory, Dinh Dang Dinh was a PEN WIPC main case. Arrested in Octover 2011, Dinh Dang Dinh (pen name: Van Nguyen) was sentenced on August 2012 to six years in prison under Article 88-1 (c) of the Criminal Code for “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.” Defending himself at the half-day closed trial, he pleaded not guilty. His sentence was upheld on appeal at a 45-minute hearing on 21 November 2012. The charges were brought against him after he published articles tackling corruption and environmental issues (Destruction of the Bauxite project in Highlands), deemed as anti-government on his blog. He was also accused of publishing on line his dissenting articles against the dictatorship of the Communist regime, urging for a genuine democracy and a State respecful of human rights and fundamental rights.

Dinh Dang Dinh had undergone an operation for liver and stomach cancer in November 2013. His health had declined rapidly while in detention owing mainly to poor detention conditions and lack of adequate medical cares. Until recently, Dinh Dang Dinh was detained at the Public Security Police Cong An detention camp in Dak Nong. On 15 February 2014, he was granted a one-year “temporary suspension” of his prison sentence, owing to the rapid decline of his health. He was then held at Ho Chi Minh’s Oncology Hospital for medical treatment under close guard and 24-hour surveillance. His wife, Dang Thi Dinh, called on the international community to urge the Vietnamese government to release him back to his family before he dies. She believes that his life can now be counted in “days and hours.” Dinh Dang Dinh has not eaten for over a month. An amnesty decision was granted on 21 March 2014 to Dinh Dang Dinh. Too late. He was only a dying skeleton devoured by cancer day and night. Shortly before his death, talking to Truong Minh Duc, a former imprisoned journalist, Dinh Dang Dinh denounced that when he discovered blood in his bowel movement, he formulated many requests to be admitted to a hospital for an examination but the camp warders beat him instead of considering his requests.