Prominent Buddhist dissident calls on Vietnam to end house arrest

Radio Australia, Oct 29, 2004

Hanoi, Vietnam -- One of Vietnam's most prominent religious dissidents has called on the country's regime to lift a verbal house arrest order against him and the head of his outlawed Buddhist church.

The deputy head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Thich Quang Do, says he and the church's patriarch, Thich Huyen Quang, have been detained for more than a year in violation of the law.

In his first public statement since his arrest, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize nominee says no country, apart from Vietnam, imprisons its citizens by mere verbal orders.

He says he and Thich Huyen Quang have never been given any reason for their detention.

Thich Quang Do, 76, says he is being held in total isolation at a monastery in Ho Chi Minh City.

Thich Huyen Quang, 87, is being detained at a monastery in central Binh Dinh province.