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June 10, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-06-10

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Thieu's prisoners
By FRANCES STARNER eration Front in 1966 - says th
Editor's Note: PNS reporter Frances Starner, who in early May that the Thieu gov
stayed in South Vietnam following the fall of the Thieu their status from political to c
government, is now the only American newswoman ing them ineligible for releasez
reporting from Saigon. The following dispatch is based Paris Agreement. The prisoners
on an exclusive interview with some of the first political new dossiers and fighting broke
prisoners freed from the notorious "Tiger Cage" prison Four prisoners were killed and
on Con Son Island following the victory of the Pro- Afterwards, Hieu said, "Many
visional Revolutionary Government. Estimates of the unconsciousness. Then the gover
number of political prisoners held by the Thieu gov- of the situation and put the fin
ernment in violation of the Paris Accord ran as high
as 202,000. .r
SAIGON - Though it was intended to end their "The prisoners recou
plight, the 1973 Paris Agreement initially caused nothing prison-quick
but trouble for political prisoners at the Con Son i e
Island complex, according to prisoners recently freed beatings, tear gas and
from the island and returned to Saigon.
Under Article 8 of the Paris Agreement and Article .
7 of the protocol on prisoners, civilian detainees - scions prisoners on paper. Afte
those who had "contributed to the political and armed complained about prison condi
struggle" between the Provisional Revolutionary Gov- water and so on - they wet
ernment, and the Saigon government -- were to be longer prisoners of the other side
exchanged within 90 days after the agreement came inals.
into effect. But the Saigon government had other plans Le Quang Trinh, 44, also of Sa
for the Con Son prisoners. ed in 1959 and sent to Con Son
Ho Hieu, 37, of Saigon, is one of 600 recently return- Trinh had little formal educatio
ed Con Son prisoners at a temporary receiving center and then he joined the resistanc
in the city. At the time of the Paris Agreement, he Trinh was arrested by the Die
was in detention in one of the "new tiger cages" of unlike many of those picked ut
Camp No. 7. The prison, he said, was "very tight," and sentenced. A quiet man, he
and no communication with the outside was permitted. riot on trial is wrong," but tha
But word of the accord passed quickly through the tencing was legal.
prison grapevine, courtesy of sympathetic government WHEN TRINH's term was up
workers on the island. Within a few hours, prisoners released - because, he ex
were shouting "Long live peacel" in their cells. The er" among the prisoners. Trinh
Saigon government, however, kept silent about the continuously from 1962 until fre
agreement until May 30, over four months after it The prisoners recount tortures
came into effect. the Tiger Cages, the use of quick
JIEU - A SCHOOL teacher before he was arrested on prisoners, beatings, tear gas
for his political activities on behalf of the Lib- that they are free the accoun

e prisoners discovered
ernment was changing
riminal, thereby mak-
under the terms of the
s.refused to sign their
out in the compound.
hundreds injured.
of us were beaten to
rnment took advantage
gerprints of the uncon-
nt tortures used
time and water,
so on."
r that, any time they
tions - bad food, no
re told they were no
e," only common crim-
aigon, was first arrest-
in 1962. Unlike Hieu,
n - only two years-
ce against the French.
-r government and -
p later - put on trial
e says "putting a pat-
at nonetheless his sen-
, however, he was not
plains, "I was a lead-
remained at Con Son
eed by the P.R.G.
used in the prison -
lime and water thrown
and so on - but now
its of their continuous

heir story
warfare against their jailers take on an air of triumph.
Huynh Ngoc Thanh, who said she became a member
of the Communist movement in 1951 when she was only
19, was first arrested along with her husband and four
children in 1960. "In prison," she says, "all of the
struggle was led by Communist cadres and F r 0 ant
Madame Thanh shows few ill effects from her 15
years.in a widt array of interrogation centers, jails
and at Con Son - three times since 1969. She spoke
of the communication chain in the prison as being
made up of "puppet government men who worked in
Con Son but had sympathy with us. Gradually we edu-
cated them." Many of them were exposed and jailed,
she said, "but still there were others who joined us."
HIEU, TRINH and Madame Thanh were named by
a committee of the former prisoners to talk with this
correspondent about the experiences of the political
prisoners at Con Son. If they seemed more politically
aware and zealous than many of the other prisoners,
they were no more firm in their commitment to the
cause of revolution than any of the other prisoners the
writer encountered - like the youthful-looking sapper
from the Michelin rubber plantation at Tri Tam, hug-
ging the seven-year-old son whom he had not seen since
being sent to Con Son in 1969. Or the black pajama-
clad man, imprisoned under the Diem government for
endangering the security of the state 13 years ago. He
stood guard, with a rifle sluig over his shoulder in the
street before the center, looking far older than his
39 years. And one wondered, after all these years, what
would happen if he was called on to use the unfamiliar
Frances Starner, Southeast Asian politico!
analyst and scholar, has reported on Indochina
for such publications as the For Eastern Econom-
ic Review and the Nation. She is now chief
Southeast Asian correspondent for PNS.

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Tuesday, June 10, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
Bikes: Safety a problem
WITH THE ONSLAUGHT of summer weather, bike
riders are wheeling their cycles down Ann Arbor
streets in droves. Liberation from the hoofing hordes
can be an exhilarating experience, one of the finer points
of summer, but at the same time, that kind of easy
freedom can lull a biker into serious lapses in common
sense and basic precautions.
The rate of bicycle ripoffs in the area has been
on a steady upswing for the past several years. Thieves
do not act alone but in packs. Each week, dozens of bikes
are reported stolen to the Ann Arbor police department,
and only a handful of those are ever recovered by their
REGISTERING YOUR TWO-wheeler with the police
should hp stnndn ia .ox fnr uss u-al

E BLA 1i N .,PLI Y M P -rt 6,~ CO ti 1T t

oxiui u zuaua plruceuure for every local omke
owner. But that alone will not deter the serious bike
thieves from zeroing in on your unprotected ten-
speed. Serial numbers can be altered or scraped off, and
a bike's appearance and shape can be easily altered by
an accomplished rip-off artist.
an ao lh r-vironmental Protection Act, giv- their views known - to their
A strong, heavy gauge steel cable or link-chain and lag citizens the right to go to own state representative and
sturdy combination orkeylockmaybetheoL etters:gscourt in pollution cases. This to Representative Tom Ander-
key only things law received the greatest out- son, Chairman of the House
standing between a blissful biker and his ,or her return -pouring of public support of any Conservation Committee, Lan-
to the pedestrian swarm. Even so, they haven't made a environmental bill ever enact- sing -- Michigan's most import-
chaithapedetruln'twarmbEvut orthcycou n't de rung, ded anywhere. It has attained ant environmental law s going
chain that couldn't be cut -or, a lock couldn't be sprung, world-wide recognition, has been to be multilated. I urge every
and bikers who really value their vehicles should make r1f A copied by many other states, one of your readers to write
the effort to store them in secure. areas, preferably in- And h 7operated successfully or caB today, while there is still
T eL I-since .1970. time.
doors. The best way to prevent a theft is to take your Now that law is threatened -Joseph L. Sax
bike at .least 'as Tseriously as those who would relieve NheDaily: yby an amendment being urged University of Michigsa
NEARLY five .yearn ago,by mining company lobbyists. Law School
you of it if given half a chance. Michigan enacted its unique En- Unless citizens quickly make Jane S

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