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Nobel Laureates Appeal for Dr. Nguyen Dan Que

September 22, 2003

His Excellency Phan Van Khai
Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Office of the Prime Minister
Hoang Hoa Tham
Ha Noi, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam


We, the Nobel Laureates listed below, write to express our deep concern about the health and well-being of our scientific colleague, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que—a Vietnamese medical doctor who has been held in incommunicado detention since his arrest on March 17, 2003, more than six months ago. Dr. Que reportedly suffers from high blood pressure, kidney problems, and peptic ulcers. It is our understanding that he has not been allowed to receive any visitors whatsoever since his arrest. Thus his family has not been permitted to provide him with the medicines that his condition requires.

Dr. Que has devoted his life—at great personal cost—to peacefully promoting human rights in Vietnam, for which he has gained international respect. He is the recipient of numerous human rights awards and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Over the years Dr. Que has written a number of essays and articles calling for freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights in Vietnam. He was arrested in March, just four days after writing a communiqué that criticizes government claims that freedom of information is respected in Vietnam. It would appear that he is imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of his beliefs.

We sincerely hope that consideration will be given to Dr. Que’s prompt release from prison on humanitarian grounds and that, in the interim, he will be given access to his family, legal counsel of his choosing, and medical care in accordance with the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.


Kenneth J. Arrow
1972 Nobel Laureate in Economics

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
1997 Nobel Laureate in Physics

Robert F. Curl, Jr.
1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Milton Friedman
1976 Nobel Laureate in Economics

François Jacob
1965 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Sir Harold W. Kroto
1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Yuan T. Lee
1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Douglas D. Osheroff
1996 Nobel Laureate in Physics

John C. Polanyi
1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Joseph Rotblat
1995 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Charles H. Townes
1964 Nobel Laureate in Physics

Torsten N. Wiesel
1981 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

 His Excellency Nguyen Dy Nien, Minister of Foreign Affairs
 His Excellency Le Hong Anh, Minister of Public Security
 His Excellency Uong Chu Luu, Minister of Justice
 His Excellency Chien Tam Nguyen, Ambassador of Viet Nam to the United States
 The Honorable Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State