Nguyen Dan Que

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Nguyen Dan Que

"Born in Hanoi in 1942. Nguyen Dan Que graduated from Saigon Medical School in 1966. In 1968, he was awarded a scholarship by the World Health Organization and furthered his studies in Belgium, France, and England. In 1974, he turned down a position at the United Nations, and instead returned to Vietnam and taught at the Saigon Medical School.

"When Saigon fell into communist hands in 1975, Nguyen Dan Que refused to leave Vietnam. In 1976, frustrated by the lack of human rights throughout the country, he and a number of close friends formed the National Movement for Progress. This Movement published two underground papers : The Revolution for young people and students and The People's Revolution for the general population. In 1978, the Vietnamese government arrested Dr. Nguyen Dan Que and 47 other activists. He was held in prison without trial for ten years. During this time, he endured torture, endless beatings, and being chained in solitary confinement. For some periods of time, up to two months long, he was thrown into a five-by-sixby- four cell with no sanitary facilities. In 1988, after an intensive international campaign by Amnesty International, Nguyen Dan Que was released from jail.

"In 1990, Dr. Que and his associates founded the Non-violent Movement for Human Rights in Vietnam. On May 11, 1990, he issued an appeal calling for a non-violent struggle for a free and democratic Vietnam. The movement called upon the Hanoi regime to respect basic human rights, to accept a multiparty system, and to restore the rights of Vietnamese people to choose their own form of government through free and fair elections.

"For this appeal, the government arrested him on June 14, 1990. On November 29, 1991, he was tried for "trying to overthrow the regime." On the same day, after a brief appearance at the court without legal representation and forbidden to speak, Nguyen Dan Que was condemned to another 20 years of hard labor and 5 years of house arrest after that.

"Dr. Que's efforts have attracted international admiration. On June 12, 1994, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que received the Congressional Human Rights Foundation's Raoul Wallenberg award in absentia. Both the U.S. Congress and Australian Senate have designated May 11, the day that Dr. Que issued his appeal for human rights, as Vietnam Human Rights Day. And he has been a repeated nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"He was released from prison in September 1998. Although under house arrest and constant police harassment (most recently on September 20, 2002 when his home was raided), he has steadfastly criticized the Communist Party for its human rights abuses and monopoly on power. Dr. Que announced that : "I am going to organize-and this is a challenge to the government-a meeting of former political prisoners in Vietnam."

"Dr. Nguyen Dan Que was arrested at 8 :00pm on March 17, 2003 outside his residence. Four hours later public security officials ransacked his home, confiscating a computer, mobile phone and documents. Just a few days earlier, on March 13, 2003, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que issued a communique calling for freedom of information in Vietnam." [1]

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