A Vietnamese artist who exhibited controversial works on land rights issues and death row inmates said he was briefly detained in the communist state intolerant of dissidence of any kind.
Thinh Nguyen was picked up outside his Hanoi home by several men who were not in uniform, along with one uniformed officer, and was driven to back to his house, which doubles as his studio.
The police forced their way in to the space and took him into custody at a nearby station for several hours, he told AFP after his release.
“They asked many questions concerning my work,” said Thinh, who has produced art and films about social issues in Vietnam.
“I told them what they did today was not right, not in accordance with laws and I need my lawyer, and I refused to talk further,” he said.
Thinh was bundled into a car but said the officers did not have an arrest warrant — required according to Vietnam law in order to officially detain someone.
Before he was taken away he wrote to a friend saying “Security. Detained me,” in text messages seen by AFP.
He was released late Friday evening, though said police confiscated two computers, several cameras and phones and other electronics and books.
A local police officer earlier told AFP he was not aware of the arrest, while the ministry of foreign affairs did not return a request for comment.