Human Rights Watch/The 2012 Hellman-Hammett awardees: Huỳnh Thục Vy & Huỳnh Ngọc Tuấn
of the Hellman-Hammett program, at +1-212-216-1810 (office), +1-212-228-4272, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director, Asia Division
The Vietnamese Communists Are Blatantly Harassing My Family Again!
Huỳnh Thục Vy
[English translation by Việt Thức]
December 18, 2012
Around September 2012, my father Huỳnh Ngọc Tuấn and I received a communication from Human Rights Watch about the results of the 2012 Hellman-Hammett Award. Per this communication, we were independently named as recipients of this award.
Responding to an invitation from Human Rights Watch dated November 7, 2012, my younger brother Huỳnh Trọng Hiếu decided to New York to accept the award directly from a representative of HRW on behalf of my father and me.
On December 3, 2012, after a short interview with immigration officials at the General Consulate of the United states of America in Saigon, Hiếu was issued a one-year visa for the US.
At 7PM on December 16, 2012, Hiếu arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. At precisely 10PM, he began the process of checking in to his flight. When he got to the Customs Entry/Exit Desk, a female employee held on to his both his airplane ticket and passport and then called for another Customs employee. This person asked Hiếu to step aside and follow him into another office for a “working session.”
The office Hiếu was taken to belong to the Entry/Exit Management Department. Already inside this office were several Customs and airport security officials. Among them were the following two individuals: Senior Colonel Phạm Tất Hưng, Deputy Commander of the Public Security Garrison, and Second Lieutenant Tô Văn Nam, a cadre from the same organization. Because there were so many of them, these people were able to force Hiếu to sit in a chair and remain seated all the time while waiting for the working session to start. One of these people announced: Hiếu is not allowed to leave the country at the request of the Quang Nam Province’s security forces. He added: “You probably have been able to guess the reason why we are not allowing you to leave the country; therefore there we don’t need to talk about it.”
Then Hiếu was taken to yet another office. Inside this office was a complete contingent of officials from the Airport, Saigon, and Quang Nam security forces. Hiếu identified two of these officials as members of the security forces of Quang Nam Province. These two were among those who acted against us countless times in the past. They participated in searches, confiscation of belongings, reading of administrative decisions to levy fines, and numerous other security related issues.
Hiếu asked these security officials to make their names known publicly. He also asked for a pen to write down their names. One of these security officials pointed his finger right at Hiếu’s face and threatened him gangster-style: “So what if I don’t care to give you my name? Will you refuse to cooperate? You are in this room now, and not outside where you can say anything you want! Is that clear?”
Hiếu protested against his thuggish manners: “I am working with you in as a citizen who is working with a government agency. You are here to represent this Government; you came here to work with me. I am a citizen, I have rights and my dignity as a citizen, therefore may I suggest that you all make your name known publicly and treat people properly as required by regulations. Are you playing by the laws of the jungle here, or by the laws of the state of Vietnam?” The security official stood up, stuck his finger right on Hiếu’s face, and said: “In here, I enjoy playing by the laws of the jungle. What are you going to do to me? If I forbid you to step out of this place, what can you do to me?”
A security official who said his name was Quân told Hiếu: “We will tell you outright the reason why you can’t leave the country. It is because your family is now subject to an administrative fine of 270 million piasters, but your family still refuses to pay it. For this precise reason, we won’t allow you leave the country.”
Considering the thuggish behavior of these security officials, Hiếu didn’t argue further. Instead, he asked for two things:
1. Give him an official document from the Entry/Exit Management Department, the document will clearly states the reasons why he is not allowed to leave the country;
2. Return to him all the papers that are his and that they took away from him.
They answered: “We have only the procès verbal of the decision forbidding you to leave the country; as to the other issues, we will work on them another day.”
The security forces took advantage of the task of stopping him at the airport to prevent him from leaving the country to proceed with a “working session” that is full of threats, probing questions, and unreasonable interrogations on totally unrelated topics.
Finally, after a two-hour “working session” with aggressive and ill-mannered security officials, Hiếu was given an appointment paper asking him to attend another “working session” on the morning after December 17, 2012. The security officials gave Hiếu a Procès Verbal document on the decision to not allow him to leave the country. He was then released and allowed to go home but without his passport which was already confiscated.
This morning, December 17, 2012, Hiếu didn’t come to the “working session” as requested in the appointment paper. He did so because he felt that such a session is unnecessary.
Once more, the events I just related above are confirmation of the thuggish nature of the security forces of the communist state of Vietnam, their hateful attitude, and the never ending harassment that they keep inflicting on my family.
Please allow me to communicate these news to all of you in the online community so that you could commune and share with us, because of the repressions that we currently must face.
Buôn Hồ, December 16, 2012
Huỳnh Thục Vy
Tuyên bố Tổng Lãnh Sự Quán Hoa Kỳ về việc ngăn chặn ông Huỳnh Trọng Hiếu đi Hoa Kỳ
Chúng tôi quan ngại về việc chính quyền Việt Nam can thiệp nhằm ngăn chặn ông Huỳnh Trọng Hiếu đi Hoa Kỳ để nhận giải thưởng Hellman Hammett của Human Rights Watch thay mặt cho cha mình là ông Huỳnh Ngọc Tuấn và chị mình là Huỳnh Thục Vy. Ông Tuấn và bà Vy đã được trao giải vì đã thực hiện quyền tự do ngôn luận một cách ôn hòa thông qua một loạt các bài báo trực tuyến.
Những hành động hạn chế tự do ngôn luận như vậy không phù hợp với các tiêu chuẩn quốc tế. Chúng tôi thúc giục chính phủ Việt Nam bãi bỏ những hạn chế đi lại đối với ông Hiếu và thực hiện các bước đi để cho phép gia đình ông và mọi người Việt Nam được bày tỏ quan điểm của mình một các ôn hoà mà không sợ bị trả thù.
(Hết tuyên bố)