Petition signed for blogger’s freedom

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh's family are appealing for her release.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s family are appealing for her release.

Hundreds of independent bloggers have signed an online petition calling for the release of the detained activist, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quyhn, who wrote under the name of  Me Nam or Mother Mushroom.

She was arrested earlier this month and charged with spreading propaganda against the state after writing a series of blogs, and taking part in the campaign, over the environmental disaster caused by the toxic leak from the Formosa owned steel plant in April.

“Mother Mushroom is not the only one to disseminate placards in protection of the environment. We have done the same thing in recent months, as do many other Vietnamese,” said the petition signed by more than one thousand bloggers from Vietnam and abroad.

“Based on the principle that everybody is equal before the law, it can be said that all of us should also be urgently arrested because we did the same thing as Mother Mushroom did,” the statement continued.

Quynh has been held in isolation since her arrest on October 10 without any access to her family or a lawyer.

The UN has expressed concern that she could be vulnerable to torture while being held under such circumstances.

Police searched her house and handcuffed her in front of her 10-year-old daughter during the arrest.

The police have ignored a request from her mother, Tuyet Lan, that she be allowed legal representation.

Some activists, who travelled from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang to visit Quynh’s family, told VNRN that they had been attacked by plainclothes police in the area. The police warned them not to come back to Nha Trang, otherwise they may be “beaten to death.”

One of the activists did manage to take a photograph of  Quynh’s family and posted it on Facebook. In the picture, her daughter holds up a placard saying “My mum needs a lawyer,” while her son’s says  “I need my mother.”