Falun Gong Trial in Vietnam Postponed, Practitioners Remain in Custody

New York–The trial of two Vietnamese Falun Gong practitioners, scheduled to take place today, has been postponed, according to their lawyer. The pair, charged over broadcasting radio programs into China, remain in custody, however, and could be tried at any time. The Falun Dafa Information Center urges the international community to continue to call for their immediate and unconditional release.

“The quick and forceful international response to the upcoming trial likely played a role in the postponement and offset Chinese pressure on Vietnam to target Falun Gong,” says Erping Zhang. “However, these two men could be put on trial at a moment’s notice. We urge the Vietnamese authorities to release them unconditionally and for the international community to continue advocating on their behalf.”

The two Vietnamese men—Mr. Vu Duc Trung, a 30-year-old CEO of a high-tech company, and his 35-year-old brother-in-law Mr. Le Van Thanh—were scheduled to stand trial in Hanoi on April 8, 2011. The pair are charged with “transmitting information illegally onto the telecommunications network” for having broadcast news programs of Sound of Hope radio via short-wave radio into China. Sound of Hope’s programs typically report on human rights abuses, corruption, and repression of Falun Gong practitioners and other minorities. Trung initiated the broadcasts in April 2009. They face five years in jail if convicted.

The pair were abducted on June 11, 2010 and have remained in custody since. The indictment stated that the Vietnamese government arrested the men after a diplomatic memo was sent on March 5, 2010, from the Chinese Embassy to Vietnam’s Ministry of Investigation and Security.

According to Agence France Presse and sources familiar with the case, the trial has been postponed, and a new date has not been set.

On April 5, the press freedom watchdog group Reporters Without Borders issued an alert on the case and called Vietnam to resist Chinese pressure.

The Center urges journalists, human rights groups, and Western government officials to continue to call on the Vietnamese to drop the charges and annul the trial completely. The following is one relevant phone number that can be called:

Deputy Minister of Investigation and Security, Huong Van Nguyen, at +84 (0)4-38226602 or +84(0)69-42545. Faxes can also be sent to: +84(0)69-41038 or +84(0)4-39420223.

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