Jailed Vietnam blogger ends hunger strike after 5 weeks

A Vietnamese dissident jailed for criticising the country's rulers has ended a hunger strike after five weeks when judicial authorities agreed to accept his complaint about poor treatment, his son said today.

Nguyen Van Hai, better known as Dieu Ca, resumed eating on July 27 after the Supreme People's Procuracy, the prosecutors office, agreed to look into his claim of abusive treatment.

The hunger strike has focused attention on Vietnam's harsh treatment of activists and bloggers, who face intimidation and long prison terms for what authorities call abuses of their constitutional right to free speech.

Hai, 61, refused food and water for 35 days in what was his second hunger strike over the prison's failure to forward his petitions. He was jailed for 12 years for "anti-state propaganda" last September.

"It's not about my father. His hunger strike was for all prisoners of conscience," said Nguyen Tri Dung, his 27-year-old son, who said he saw Hai for just seven minutes yesterday.

Communist Vietnam has taken a tough line on dissent, with arrests and convictions on the rise in the past three years. Bloggers are increasingly targeted as the number of web users soars to a third of the one-party state's 90 million population. - Reuters, August 3, 2013


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