Dr. Nguyen Dan QueVietnam

Dr. Nguyen Dan Que is one of Vietnam’s most renowned democracy activists. He was arrested on March 17, 2003 and convicted of “abusing democratic rights to jeopardize the interests of the state.” Dr. Que was freed on February 1, 2005.

Dr. Que’s history of democracy advocacy goes back many decades. He was first detained in 1978 after criticizing Vietnam’s political system. After he was released, Dr. Que founded the High Tide Humanist movement, a non-violent struggle to ensure human rights for all Vietnamese people. He urged the Vietnamese government to reduce the size of its military and instead invest in the welfare of its people. Dr. Que was detained again in June 1990 and never received a trial. He was released from prison in September 1998, but remained under virtual house arrest, under constant government surveillance and with restrictions on his movements and on any use of communication.

Dr. Que is the recipient of numerous awards for his lifelong commitment to human rights including the Raoul Wallenberg Award, the RFK Human Rights Award, and the Hellman-Hammett Grant from Human Rights Watch.

Dr. Que was arrested on March 17, 2003, four days after sending a statement to his brother, Dr. Quan Nguyen, from an Internet cafe. The statement criticized the Vietnamese government’s claim to guarantee freedom of information, highlighting the lack of independent media in the country. It also endorsed proposed U.S. legislation that would fund ways to overcome broadcast and Internet jamming by the Vietnamese government.

On July 29, 2004, the Government of Vietnam—in a closed trial and without providing him with access to counsel—sentenced Dr. Que to 30 months in prison for “abusing democratic rights to jeopardize the interests of the state.”

On January 31, 2005, the Government of Vietnam announced that it would release Dr. Que from prison. Dr. Que was released on February 1, 2005.

Selected documents from Dr. Nguyen Dan Que's case
Attack on a Diplomat Shows Vietnam’s Contempt for Human Rights February 26, 2011

Washington Post Op-Ed by former Freedom Now client Dr. Nguyen Dan Que commenting on the attack against a U.S. diplomat in Vietnam after the diplomat attempted to visit former Freedom Now client Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly.

Freedom for Vietnam, Freedom for My Brother March 17, 2004

National Review Op-Ed by Quan Nguyen, Dr. Que's brother.

Freedom Now Response to the Government's ReplyAugust 30, 2004

Responding to the Reply of the Government of Vietnam to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Letter from 12 Nobel Prize LaureatesSeptember 22, 2003

Addressed to the Prime Minister of Vietnam urging the release of Dr. Que (prior to Freedom Now's engagement).

Letter from 12 U.S. SenatorsOctober 6, 2004

Addressed to the President of Vietnam and calling for Dr. Que's release.

Letter from 15 RFK Human Rights Award LaureatesMarch 30, 2004

Addressed to the President of Vietnam urging Dr. Que's release (prior to Freedom Now's engagement).

Letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan from nine NGOsJanuary 28, 2005

Urging his intervention in Dr. Que’s detention.

Letters from 42 Members of the US CongressSeptember 30, 2004

Addressed to the President of Vietnam and calling for Dr. Que's release.

Opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention No. 19/2004September 16, 2004

Finding Dr. Que's detention a violation of international law.

Petition to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention June 3, 2004

Submitted by Freedom Now on behalf of Dr. Que.

Reply from the Government of VietnamJune 17, 2004

Reply of the Government to the petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Selected Media November 15, 2004

Reporting on the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Vietnam Frees Two Dissidents from Jail in Lunar New Year Amnesty January 31, 2005

Associated Press article.