The trial has been re-scheduled on several occasions (April and August 2012). Meanwhile Dieu Cay has been in prison pending his trial for 23 months  . Mr. Phan Thanh Hai and Ms. Ta Phong Tan have also been in pre-trial detention in Ho Chi Minh City for 23 and 12 months respectively. This prolonged pre-trial detention is a violation of national and international law, including Article 120 of the Vietnamese Criminal Procedures Code .
The Observatory and VCHR are extremely concerned that the bloggers will not receive a fair trial. In addition, the family of Dieu Cay has been put under pressure. Indeed, in the afternoon of September 16, 2012, Dieu Cay’s ex wife, along with a sister of Ms. Ta Phong Tan, were reportedly arrested and interrogated at the police station on accusations of causing a traffic incident after they got out of the taxi that drove them to a ceremony to commemorate the 49-day of Ms. Ta Phong Tan’s death. The same day, they were also assaulted by thugs in front of the police. It is to be recalled that on July 30, 2012, Ms. Ta Phong Tan’s mother, Ms. Dang Thi Kim Lieng, immolated herself outside the People’s Committee headquarters in Bac Lieu to protest against her daughter’s unfair imprisonment.
Dieu Cay, one of the founders of the Club of Free Journalists, is known for his writings calling for greater respect for human rights and democratic reforms. He is also known for his criticisms of China’s claims over disputed islands in the South China Sea. In January 2008, Dieu Cay and other activists staged an anti-China demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City. Before their arrests, Phan Thanh Hai had published a number of articles on his blog, including one that criticised and called for the repeal of Article 88 of the Criminal Code, while Ms. Tan had blogged about police abuse and violations of human rights by the State.
This crackdown on Internet activists has been continuous since 2008, including numerous arbitrary arrests and detentions . In addition, the Vietnamese government has drafted a new Decree on Management, Provision, and Use of Internet Services and Information on the Network that, if passed in its current form, would grant the authorities expansive discretionary power to censor, control and possibly criminalise Internet use in Viet Nam. Moreover, last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered a crack down on three prominent blogs advocating for pro human rights and pro democratic reforms and denouncing corruption cases and called for the arrest of those associated with these sites. In June 2012, the UN Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution affirming that the right to freedom of expression on-line must be protected, and called on States to “promote and facilitate access to the Internet”.
The Observatory reiterates its call on the representatives of the diplomatic and international community in Hanoi to send observers to the trial of the three bloggers and to publicly and privately urge Viet Nam to drop all charges against Ms. Ta Phong Tan, Mr. Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay) and Mr. Phan Thanh Hai, and release them immediately and unconditionally.