Vietnamese blogger released from psychiatric institution

Vietnamese blogger Le Anh Hung was released on February 5, 2013, about 12 days after he was arrested and held against his will in a psychiatric institution in Hanoi, the national capital, according to news reports.

Hung was initially arrested on January 24 in the northern city of Hung Yen. Security agents said they needed to question him over his “temporary residence papers” but later detained him at Social Support Center No. 2, a mental health institution. The institution’s director told Hung’s colleagues that he had been admitted at the request of his mother and was not allowed to see visitors. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a coalition of three international rights groups, said in a public statement that Hung’s mother had made no such request.

Hung told Radio Free Asia after his release that he had been treated “normally” while held in the facility. He said he believed his detention was in connection with 71 critical blog posts he had written over the past five years about government corruption.

The Observatory also reported that Hung had been subjected to repeated interrogations, threats, and harassment by police before his arrest. RFA reported that Hung had faced prior harassment for his online writings, which included critical blog entries on the abuse of power inside the ruling Communist Party.