Human rights and pro-democracy groups are concerned that the health of a detained Vietnamese dissident is deteriorating rapidly.
According to his daughter, Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, he is suffering from a heart condition, low cerebral blood flow (ischemia) and is virtually blind in both eyes. He is also very deaf and extremely weak as a result of harsh detention conditions and inadequate medical care in prison.
“Subjecting prisoners to inhuman treatment – especially persons who should never have been detained at all – is inadmissible”, said VCHR President Vo Van Ai. ”I call upon UN member states not to support Vietnam’s candidature for membership of the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 which will be voted at the UN General Assembly in New York in September this year.”
Nguyen Huu Cau, 66, has spent a total of 37 years in jail, VCHR notes:
A former officer in the South Vietnamese army, he was arrested in 1975 after Vietnam was united under Communist rule and spent six years in ”re-education camp”. In 1982, he was arrested again for writing poetry and songs about power abuse and corruption of high-ranking Communist Party officials in the province of Kien Giang. He was charged with “sabotage” and sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison, and he has been detained in Z30A prison camp since then.
Nguyen Huu Cau has been frequently held in solitary confinement, and his health has deteriorated seriously over the past few years. Despite this, he has continued to challenge the camp authorities over his unfair detention. Over the past 30 years, Nguyen Huu Cau has written over 500 letters to the authorities demanding a re-trial, but has never received a reply. He refuses to demand clemency or seek early release.
The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group