Message from Franz Jessen, EU Ambassador to Vietnam
Earlier today the EU Ambassador to Vietnam, Franz Jessen, expressed his concerns over the sentencing of 14 bloggers and journalists (activists) in Nghe An province on 9 January to prison terms ranging form 3 to13 years, for acts related to the exercise of freedom of expression.
Ambassador Jessen recalled the fundamental right for all persons to hold and freely express their opinions in a peaceful manner, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a party.
He added that this sentencing appears to be inconsistent with Vietnam’s respective international obligations, and continues to the overall negative trend with sentencing of bloggers and Human Rights Defenders, as shown by the confirmation on appeal of the harsh sentencing for bloggers Dieu Cay, Anh Ba Sai Gon and Ta Phong Tan, on 28 December 2012 in Ho Chi Minh city.
The sentences in these two trials appear to be particularly severe.
The Vietnamese authorities should review the sentences immediately.