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                             A Call for e-Freedom

                                 Background to the Call for e-Freedom

       According to international human rights organisations, as of 1st July 2008   
                those imprisoned for free speech on the Internet include:


Hu Jia was detained on 27 December 2007 and sentenced in April 2008 to three and a half years. His crime was to expose human rights violations and to publicise China’s AIDS problem on the Internet. His wife Zeng Jinyan and their young child are under house arrest. About 50 other people have been imprisoned in China for similar 'crimes'. Hu Jia was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament in October 2008. More on Hu Jia here.


Tariq Omar Biasi

Tariq Omar Biasi has been in jail in Syria since 7 July 2007 for a blog entry that was regarded as critical of the security services. His six year sentence was reduced to three on appeal. The authorities have strict laws on licensing internet sites and seven other individuals are thought to be in jail in Syria for expressing opinions online. More about Tariq here.


Nguyen Van Dai regularly posted pro-democracy essays on websites based abroad. In June 2006, for example, he wrote an article on the "right to found a party in Vietnam" for the BBC’s Vietnamese website. Arrested in March 2007, he was sentenced to 5 years -- reduced to 4 on appeal. Other internet writers are known to be in jail in Vietnam and Burma. More on Nguyen Van Dai here.


Legislators, organisations and citizens are all encouraged to sign the statement below - which will then be delivered to the authorities who are holding these people in prison. We shall continue to collect signatures until they - and others who have been imprisoned for similar reasons - have all been released.

As Members of Parliament and Congress and as citizens, we call on all governments to allow their people to express their views on the Internet freely and without fear of retribution. In particular, we call for the release of those who are now in prison because they expressed opinions online that their governments did not like. We believe the Internet should be a space for free exchange among all the world’s people, where no one loses their life or their liberty for saying what they think.

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