The US Embassy in Hanoi today said it was “deeply concerned” at the self-immolation of a 63-year-old woman protesting against the detention of her daughter, a Christian blogger.
An embassy statement said the US was “saddened” to hear of Dang Thi Kim Lieng’s death on Monday after she set herself alight in the southern city of Bac Lieu. The trial of her daughter Ta Phong Tan, along with three other bloggers, is scheduled for August 7 in Ho Chi Minh City.
“We call upon the government of Vietnam to release all three immediately,” the statement said. It also called on Hanoi to create a society where journalists could operate freely and without fear.
Tan, Dieu Cay and Anh Sa Sai Gon, the founding members of the ‘Free Journalists Club’, have been charged under Article 88, “which applies vaguely worded provisions to stifle free and open debate,” the statement added.
Authorities arrested the trio in September and charged them with anti-government activities ahead of a trial that had been scheduled for May and was later postponed.
Lieng’s funeral is due to take place tomorrow.