Que, a writer and publisher of the underground newspaper The Future, was arrested outside his home in Ho Chi Minh City. Police also confiscated several documents and a computer from his house.
On March 21, 2003, the official Vietnam News Agency reported that Que was accused of violating the law by “sending materials with anti-Socialist Republic of Vietnam contents to an organization named ‘Cao Trao Nhan Ban’ headquartered in the U.S.” Que launched Cao Trao Nhan Ban (High Tide of Humanism) in 1990 in Ho Chi Minh City to promote nonviolent human rights activism in Vietnam. Que’s brother, Nguyen Quoc Quan, runs a branch office of the organization in Virginia.
On March 13, 2003, Que had issued a statement, titled “Communiqué on Freedom of Information in Vietnam,” in which he criticized the government’s refusal to implement political reforms and lift controls on the media. Que’s statement also supported the Freedom of Information in Vietnam Act of 2003, which was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on February 27, 2003. The bill would support enhanced broadcasts from the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia into Vietnam and would allow the United States to counter Vietnamese government blocks on Internet access.
Que, an endocrinologist and prominent writer, has spent a total of 18 years in prison for his political activism since his first arrest in 1978.
On July 29, 2004, Ho Chi Minh People’s Court sentenced Que to 30 months in prison on charges of “taking advantage of democratic rights to infringe upon the interests of the state.” In September, Que was transferred to Ward 5 Prison, a hard-labor camp for criminals in remote Thanh Hoa Province.