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Dieu Cay on solitary confinement, hunger strikes, and his fight for press freedom

Nguyen Van Hai speaks to the Associated Press on 30 October 2014 in Los Angeles after being released from prison and flown to the U.S.
Nguyen Van Hai speaks to the Associated Press on 30 October 2014 in Los Angeles after being released from prison and flown to the U.S.

AP Photo/Richard Vogel

Excerpt of a 16 June 2015 CPJ Blog post by Nguyen Van Hai/CPJ Guest Blogger

EDITOR'S NOTE: Held in solitary confinement and stripped of his human rights, Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai suffered greatly during his six and a half years in prison. The 63-year-old outspoken critic of the repressive Vietnamese government was granted early release from a 12-year sentence last year, thanks in part to campaigning by CPJ. Hai, who writes under the name Dieu Cay (Peasant's Pipe), was awarded CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2013. Here, he gives a grim account of life as a political prisoner and pledges to use his new-found freedom to continue his fight against injustice.

I remember the day clearly-- October 21, 2014. As the plane took off, I looked back at my home country, where I had been held in bitter conditions in communist prisons, and where my friends are still seeking freedom for our country. I had just been released from jail and immediately forced into exile in the U.S.

Even as I left, I knew I would continue the path I had been pursuing, to fight for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. But my steps from now on are no longer my own--they belong to all my fellow inmates. I must help them tell the world about human rights abuses in Vietnam, so that the people of my country can fully enjoy the human rights asserted in international covenants to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site
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