Military historian Duong was arrested at a train station in Ho Chi Minh City while en route to his home in the capital, Hanoi, after meeting with writer Tran Khue. Khue, who has been under house arrest since October 2001, was detained on December 29, 2002, at his home in Ho Chi Minh City. A government official stated that the two men had been “caught red-handed while carrying out activities that seriously violate Vietnamese laws.”
She said that Khue and Duong will be tried but did not clarify on what charges or when the trial will take place.
Duong and Khue had both signed a petition sent to the Vietnamese Parliament in August 2002 calling for democratic reforms. Prior to his arrest, Duong had written a number of articles calling for political reforms and support for human rights, according to CPJ sources.
Duong, a former colonel in the Vietnamese military, served as editor of Tap Chi Lich Su Quan Su (Military History Review) from 1982 to 1986. In 1990, he resigned from the Vietnamese Communist Party and began writing articles that criticized the current political system.
Duong was also involved in the failed attempt to launch an independent anti-corruption organization in 2001.
According to CPJ sources, Duong has been under tight surveillance in recent years because he became well known for his expressions of political dissent.
By year’s end, Duong had not been tried and the government had not announced any formal charges against him.