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Vietnam and Chad: Amnesty launches urgent appeal for missing teachers

Amnesty issues call after teachers disappear

Amnesty International today admitted its deep concerns over the future and well-being of two teachers – one in Vietnam and one in Chad.

Vu Hung, a high school physics teacher, has been held in pre-trial detention since 18 September 2008 and has not been seen since he was moved from his cell in a Ha Noi prison in Vietnam two months ago.

His health had deteriorated after reportedly being beaten during several interrogation sessions, and starting a hunger-strike in protest at his treatment.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“Vu Hung’s case is of deep concern to Amnesty International. He expressed his own concerns in a peaceful manner and it appears he has been severely punished for it.

“We are calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Amnesty is also calling for an urgent investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment he has suffered, and if anyone is found to be responsible that they be brought to justice.”

Married with two young Children's rights, Vu Hung was dismissed from his job in July 2008 for his involvement with other pro-democracy activists and protesting against government policies. He was also frequently interrogated by the police.

Kate Allen added:

“Sadly this case is typical of the situation in Vietnam. Freedom of expression and association has been subject to strict control for years. And anyone who is brave enough to speak out has faced a wide range of sanctions in an attempt to silence them.”

Meanwhile in Chad fears are increasing for the safety of English teacher, Issa Palkoubou, who has not been seen since 3 September 2008. Amnesty International believes that Mr Palkoubou may still be alive, and could be in the custody of Chadian security forces at an unknown location, and has urged the Chadian authorities to immediately reveal his whereabouts.

Kate Allen said:

“As with the situation in Vietnam, in Chad authorities also seek to intimidate the general population. Enforced disappearances is a common practice by Chad’s security forces.

“Whether it be Vietnam or Cambodia, we must see an end to these awful tactics of repression.”

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