Anger brews at deportation of Vietnamese activist from Nuremberg

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Anger brews at deportation of Vietnamese activist from Nuremberg
The foreigners' office in Nuremberg. Photo: DPA

Germany's deportation of a Vietnamese author and human rights activist back to his communist-ruled homeland sparked protests on Thursday.


Nguyen Quang Hong Nhan, 65, and his wife were expelled last week by
immigration authorities in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg.

The deportation took place despite the fact Vietnam considers Nhan a "state enemy" and sentenced him to 20 years' jail.

Ralf Nestmeyer, Germany vice president of the PEN writers association, said he was "appalled by the deportation", in an open letter to Bavaria's state interior minister Joachim Herrmann and the immigration department.

"How can you deport an author whose livelihood is the freedom of the word
to a land known for repression and censorship?" Nestmeyer wrote.

The left-leaning Greens party also protested the March 26th deportation,
labelling it "absolutely cruel and inhumane" and a "complete failure of
Bavarian asylum policy."

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Nhan was in 1979 sentenced in Vietnam to 20 years in prison for "propaganda against the socialist state" and served most of the term.

Germany's taz newspaper, which first reported on the deportation case, said Nhan had authored over 20 books and been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature and other awards.

He was only able to leave in 2015 thanks to the musical talents of his
daughter, now aged 19, whom the parents accompanied to European piano

But last week, Bavarian authorities rejected his application for political

Police went to their refuge accommodation centre and placed the couple on a Vietnam-bound aircraft despite the fact they also have a pending request for safe haven in Canada.

After his return to Hanoi, the author, who requires medication since suffering a stroke, was interrogated by police but then released, his lawyer
Manfred Hörner told the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily.

The couple's daughter, Nguyen Quang Hong An, a music student in Nuremberg, stayed behind, having apparently only evaded deportation because she did not have a valid Vietnamese passport.

"The fact that her family was torn apart and her parents were deported was
a heavy blow for her," Hörner told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten daily.

Greens party lawmaker Margarete Bause called on the German foreign ministry to take up the case of the "massively vulnerable" daughter, and to "take steps for her protection".

The music school's principal Christoph Adt told taz that a deportation of
Hong An would be "absolutely unacceptable" and that he and church authorities had launched an urgent appeal for her to be allowed to stay in Germany.

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