Nguyen Xuan Tu, a scientist and political essayist better known by his pen name, Ha Sy Phu, was placed under house arrest and charged with treason. The arrest came after an April 28, 2000, raid on Ha Sy Phu’s home in Dalat, Lam Dong Province, during which police confiscated a computer, a printer, and several diskettes. They returned on May 12 with orders for his arrest signed by Col. Nguyen Van Do, police chief of Lam Dong Province.
Officials suspected that Ha Sy Phu had helped draft a pro-democracy declaration, according to CPJ sources, and his arrest followed the government’s long-standing harassment of the writer. Ha Sy Phu was held under Administrative Detention Directive 31/CP, which allows the government to put individuals under house arrest for two years without due process, and was required to report daily to the Dalat police for interrogation.
In January 2002, police searched Ha Sy Phu’s home and again confiscated his computer. The raid came during a period of escalating harassment of dissidents in Vietnam. Though the treason charge against Ha Sy Phu was withdrawn in January 2001, authorities renewed his administrative detention order for two years. Although the detention order expired in early 2003, officials refused to officially clarify if he was free from house arrest, so he remained under effective detention at the end of 2003, according to CPJ sources.