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IPA condemns arrest of 2011 Freedom to Publish Prize recipient

(IPA/IFEX) - Geneva, 1 May 2011 - Bui Chat, recipient of the 2011 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize awarded in Buenos Aires last week, was arrested by authorities on his return to Vietnam yesterday. The Award and Prize certificate were confiscated. Bui Chat is the founder of Giay Vun publishing in Vietnam and was honoured by the IPA for his exemplary courage in upholding freedom to publish. IPA condemns the arrest and calls for his immediate release.

According to reports received by the IPA, today Bui Chat was taken to his home and a search warrant was executed. The authorities searched throughout his home, then told Bui Chat to pack some clothes and proceeded with a preliminary detention order. The location of his detention was not yet disclosed to his family. Bui Chat may face up to 9 months in detention under the current law for "purpose of investigation" before an official charge needs to be laid.

The co-founder of Giay Vun Publishing House, Poet Ly Doi, was also ordered to report for interrogation. Both men were evicted from their rented apartment. The landlord is reported to have said that he was under pressure and ordered by the local security police to evict them both.

IPA is liaising with the relevant authorities to facilitate Bui Chat's release. The IPA calls upon governments and advocates for human rights and freedom of expression to join publishers in calling for Bui Chat's immediate release.

Bjorn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee said: "IPA strongly condemns the arrest of Bui Chat, the recipient of this year's IPA Freedom to Publish Prize and calls for his immediate release as his arrest appears to be directly linked to his being awarded of the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize in Buenos Aires a few days ago. In addition to his immediate release, his prize should be returned to him".
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