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Parliamentary questions
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19 June 2003


by Maurizio Turco (NI), Marco Pannella (NI), Marco Cappato (NI), Benedetto Della Vedova (NI), Gianfranco Dell'Alba (NI) and Olivier Dupuis (NI)

to the Commission

  Subject: Violation of freedom of expression in Vietnam

 Answer in writing 

The Misna news agency reported on 18 June that the Vietnamese doctor Phan Hong Son had been sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, followed by an additional 3 years’ house arrest, for collecting information and documents issued by a foreign country to use them against the Socialist State of Vietnam. The doctor was arrested on 27 March 2002 after having translated, and sent to Vietnamese friends and officials, an article entitled ‘What is democracy?’ which he had found on the US State Department’s Internet site. Furthermore Dr Son had written, and published on the web, an open letter protesting against the fact that his house had been searched and his computer confiscated.


In view of the foregoing:


  What information does the Commission have concerning the case of Dr Phan Hong Son?


  What type of pressure does the Commission  intend to bring to bear on the Hanoi Government to obtain the immediate release of Dr Phan Hong Song, who is guilty only of having translated into his own language, and circulated, a document about democracy?


  More generally, what type of initiative does the Commission  intend to take to dissuade the Vietnamese Government from continuing to take action (such as abolishing the right to freedom of expression) in flagrant breach of the international agreements to which Vietnam subscribes and the spirit and letter of the cooperation agreement between Vietnam and the EU?



Original language of question: ITOJ C 51 E, 26/02/2004
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