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The International Publishers Association (IPA), PEN America, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and the World Organisation Against Torture are among nearly 30 human rights and freedom of expression organisations who have issued a joint call to the Vietnamese authorities for the immediate release of independent journalist and human rights defender Pham Doan Trang.

Trang was arrested more than a year ago and charged with ‘making, storing, distributing or disseminating information, documents and items against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’.  Her trial is due on 4 November.

In 2020 the IPA awarded Trang’s Liberal Publishing House with its Prix Voltaire Award, its freedom to publish honour.  The IPA says: “It is clear that Pham Doan Trang is being persecuted for her long-standing work as an independent journalist, book publisher and human rights defender, [someone] who is known for writing about topics ranging from environmental rights to police violence, as well as for her advocacy for press freedom….[She] is no stranger to harassment by the State for her writing and human rights advocacy.  This has included torture and other ill-treatment, including physical assault.”

The signees of the statement call on the government of Vietnam to ‘immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Pham Doan Trang and all other human rights defenders currently imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms’.  They also request that Trang’s trial is ‘open to the public, including diplomatic and human rights civil society observers and the media…’