Dr. Pham Hong Son
Dr. Pham Hong Son is a Vietnamese physician and businessman who was arrested on March 27, 2002, after translating an article into Vietnamese titled, “What is Democracy?” from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam’s website and sending it to friends and senior party officials. Dr. Son was freed on August 30, 2006.
After a 15 month pre-trial detention, Dr. Son was tried and sentenced to 13 years in prison and three years of house arrest. Upon appeal, Vietnam’s Supreme Court reduced Dr. Son’s sentence to five years in prison and three years of house arrest. While imprisoned, Dr. Son suffered from poor health and an untreated inguinal hernia.
Freedom Now filed a petition in August 2006 with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Dr. Son’s behalf.
International institutions condemned Dr. Son’s imprisonment. In April 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a concurrent resolution calling for his immediate release.
Dr. Son was released on August 30, 2006, in a government amnesty.
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Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?