August 25 – August 31 Defender’s Weekly: Unfair Jail Sentences for Three Activists

Defenders-weekly 31

Defend the Defenders | 1/9/2014

Defenders’ Weekly

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Social activist Bui Thi Minh Hang was sentenced to three years in jail at a trial on Aug 26 by Dong Thap provincial People’s Court with a conviction of “conducting public disorder” according to Article 245 of the Criminal Code. The 50-year anti-China activist was brought to the court together with two other activists named Mr. Nguyen Van Minh and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, who were given a 30-month and a 24-month imprisonments, respectively. Tens of bloggers and friends of the convicted trio were detained and harassed outside of the courtroom in the Mekong Delta province. Numerous international and domestic bodies, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT),  the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPoC), the Brotherhood for Democracy, the Vietnam Path Movement, and foreign governments, including the U.S., EU and Germany condemned the unfair trial.

Recently, Chief monk Thich Khong Tanh of the Saigon-based Lien Tri Pagoda has been summoned by local communal authorities to work on demolition of the pagoda. He replied with a letter demanding the authorities in Ho Chi Minh City not to suppress Buddhist, especially Lien Tri Pagoda, and claiming that he and other monks will conduct hunger strike and pray for religious freedom.

On Aug 26, 21 international human rights bodies sent a joint letter to President Truong Tan Sang, demanding Vietnam to abide by the decision of UN Working Group and release unconditionally lawyer Le Quoc Quan on an occasion of the national day Sept 2.

Political prisoner Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay), who is handing his 12-year imprisonment in the central province of Nghe An, refused to plead for release. The prison authorities asked him to make an official application to the authorities seeking his release from prison, however, the anti-China activist and human rights defender insisted that they have to explain the reasons for his initial arrest and demanded that he be freed without condition.

There are many interesting stories during the week.

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*********25/8/2014*********

Power abuse and torture during police interrogation in Vietnam

Lawyer Tran Vu Hai, in his interview to BBC, said that the recent issued Circular 28 of the Ministry of Public Security is not new in term of issuing regulations to prevent power abuse and torture during police interrogation in criminal cases.

“The circular could not halt power abuse and torture of investigating officers during interrogation in criminal cases,” lawyer  Hai said.

The circular should detail police crime investigation, he said.

Regarding power abuse and torture during interrogation, insufficient knowledgement on human rights of investigators and their bad professional ethics are the main reasons for the situation, which has no improvements in years.

Circular 28 was issued by the Ministry of Public Security and became effective on Aug 25. It met strong objection from local lawyers, especially Article 38 which could allow investigator to abuse and prevent lawyers from effectively protecting their clients.

BBC: Nạn bức cung, dùng nhục hình ở VN

==================

HRW Voices against Vietnam’s Imprisoning Three Social Activists

On Aug 25, one day prior to a trial against social activists Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Nguyen Van Minh, the Human Rights Watch issued a statement demanding Vietnam to drop politically-motivated charges against the trio and free them immediately.

“The Vietnamese government is now resorting to bogus traffic offenses to criminally prosecute activists,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “The authorities should recognize this case is not worth the international ridicule it will cause and drop the charges immediately.”

On February 11, a group of 21 bloggers and Hoa Hao Buddhist activists rode motorbikes from Ho Chi Minh City to Lap Vo district in Dong Thap province to visit former political prisoner Nguyen Bac Truyen and his fiancé, Bui Thi Kim Phuong, an independent Hoa Hao Buddhist practitioner, whom police had harassed, detained and interrogated the previous day. As the group neared their destination, police stopped them for an alleged traffic violation, and then stood by while unidentified thugs in civilian clothes beat up several group members. The police then arrested all the activists, but only charged prominent blogger Bui Thi Minh Hang, 50, rights activist Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, 28, and independent Hoa Hao Buddhist practitioner Nguyen Van Minh, 34.

The activists have suffered loss of freedom and various due process violations while in detention. Immediately after being detained, Bui Thi Minh Hang and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh went on a two-week hunger strike to protest the circumstances of their arrest. The authorities initially obstructed efforts by their defense lawyer, Ha Huy Son, to see their case files. On July 22, Ha Huy Son filed a motion against the Dong Thap province police for failing to provide him the findings of their criminal investigation as required by law. On March 22, authorities harassed and intimidated family members of Bui Thi Minh Hang, including her son Tran Bui Trung and her daughter Dang Thi Quynh Anh, when they tried to rally support for their mother in Hanoi.

RFA: HRW kêu gọi trả tự do cho các nhà hoạt động Minh Hằng, Thúy Quỳnh và Nguyễn Văn Minh

HRW: Vietnam: Activists Face Trial on Bogus Traffic Offense 

HRW: Việt Nam: Các nhà hoạt động phải ra tòa vì lỗi giao thông ngụy tạo

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Representatives of VFPC, VWHR Visit Ill Mother of Political Prisoner

On Aug 18, Mr. Pham Ba Hai, representative of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPS) and Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Lua and Ms. Dinh Phuong Thao from the Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VWHR) visited Mrs. Vo Thi Ha, mother of Mr. Nguyen Van Thuy, a prisoner of conscience. Mrs. Ha, 63, is hospitalized in Saigon-based cancer hospital to treat her disease.

Mr. Thuy is a Hoa Hao practioneer. He was given jail sentence in December, 2006 charged with “conducting public disorder.” Earlier, he and other Hoa Hao Buddhist followers were arrested when they prayed for a just died believer. Policemen and plain clothed agents beat them severely.

In police station, Thuy and other arrested followers conducted a two-week hunger strike to protest police harassment.

Mr. Thuy, Mr. Nguyen Van Tho, Ms. Duong Thi Tron, Mr. Le Van Soc and Nguyen Van Dien were sentenced with between six and nine years in jail for fabricated charges.

CTNLT: Hội CTNLT và PNNQ thăm bệnh thân mẫu của CTNLT…

********26/8/2014*********

OBS, FIDH, OMCT and VCHR Jointly Condemns Vietnam’s Trial against Three Social Activist

On Aug 27, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights- FIDH and the World Organization Against Torture – OMCT),  and the FIDH together with the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) released a joint statement on Vietnam’s trial against three social activists named Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Nguyen Van Minh, saying the arbitrary imprisonment of three human rights defenders on trumped-up charges makes a mockery of Vietnam’s human rights commitments and obligations.

Eight months after being elected to the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam continues its business-as-usual repression of all voices of dissent, said FIDH President Karim Lahidji, adding Hanoi’s commitments to improve its legal and judicial system and to adopt policies and measures to ensure respect of human rights have not materialized.

It’s time for the international community to make the release of all political prisoners, including human rights defenders, a key demand in its interaction with Hanoi, he said.

“Voicing your opinion, traveling to visit other prisoners or advocating for the rights of others is a right but never a criminal offense. The ruling of today is a shameful example of a judiciary not fulfilling its tasks as protector of rights but serving as a willful instrument of power,” noted OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock in a comment.

One day earlier, the Dong Thap Provincial People’s Court sentenced Ms. Hang, 50, to three years in prison, Mr. Minh, 34, to two years and six months, and Ms. Quynh, 28, to two years in prison. They were charged under Article 245, paragraph 2, of the Criminal Code for “causing public disorder”. The three remain detained in An Binh commune, Cao Lanh city, Dong Thap province.

Police intercepted, harassed, and prevented scores of activists from attending the trial. Defense lawyers unsuccessfully requested a postponement of the proceedings after the court refused to hear testimony from 14 witnesses presented by the defense.

Police arrested Mrs. Hang, Ms. Quynh, and Mr. Minh on February 11, 2014, in Lap Vo District, Dong Thap Province, as the three were travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap province to visit former political prisoner Nguyen Bac Truyen and his wife. Two days earlier, police had raided the couple’s home and taken Truyen into custody.

The trio is particularly known for their peaceful campaigns for religious freedom, the release of political prisoners, and their support to victims of land confiscation.

Quê mẹ: OBS, FIDH, OMCT và VCHR ra thông cáo về 3 nhà hoạt động

OMCT: Viet Nam: Three human rights defenders sentenced to jail

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Anti-China Activist Bui Thi Minh Hang Jailed Three Years for Bogus Traffic Offense

Anti-China activist Mrs. Bui Thi Minh Hang, 50, was sentenced with three years in jail by Dong Thap provincial People’s Court on Aug 26 with charge of conducting public disorder under Article 245 of the Criminal Code.

Mrs. Hang, who is activist for land rights, was tried together with two other friends, Mr. Nguyen Van Minh and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh. Minh and Quynh, who are also activists for human rights and religious freedom, were sentenced with 30 months and 24 months in prison, respectively.

Bloggers and observers reported that many social activists were harassed and detained by security forces when they tried to participate in the open trial.

Police arrested Mrs. Hang, Ms. Quynh, and Mr. Minh on February 11, 2014, in Lap Vo District, Dong Thap Province, as the three were travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap province to visit former political prisoner Nguyen Bac Truyen and his wife.

According to indictments, Mrs. Hang and Ms. Quynh were reportedly to conduct public disorder by shouting at policemen, attracting local people thus affecting vehicles movement and causing traffic jam for over two hours. Meanwhile, Mr. Minh was accused of conducting activities against police officers.

Three accused did not admit the indictment.

VOA: Bà Bùi Thị Minh Hằng bị kết án 3 năm tù giam

VRNs: Hội đồng Xét xử bác bỏ triệu tập các bị cáo có lợi cho bà Bùi Hằng, cô Thúy Quỳnh và ông Văn Minh

RFA: Kết quả phiên xử nhà hoạt động Bùi thị Minh Hằng, Nguyễn Văn Minh và Nguyễn thị Thúy Quỳnh

RFI: Hà Nội mở phiên xử trấn áp ba nhà hoạt động nhân quyền

RFA: Vietnamese Activists Set to Stand Trial on ‘Bogus’ Charges 

Asia News: Hanoi resorts to traffic charges to jail dissidents

AFP: Vietnam jails activists for up to three years

Defend the Defenders: Phiên tòa cáo gian

RFA: Three Vietnamese Activists Jailed on ‘Politically-Motivated’ Charges

VNRN: Harsh sentence slapped on prominent activist

OMCT: Three human rights defenders sentenced to jail

Báo Đồng Tháp: Xét xử 3 đối tượng về hành vi gây rối trật tự công cộng

RFA: Phiên tòa Đồng Tháp làm thế giới quản ngại về nhân quyền ở VN

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam Sentences Anti-China Activist to 3 Years in Jail for Bogus Traffic Offense

RFA: Con trai Bà Bùi Hằng thất vọng về bản án của Mẹ

IJAVN: Hội đồng xét xử “Nhóm Bùi Hằng” vi phạm nghiêm trọng tố tụng 

RFA: Phản ứng của các nhà dân chủ về bản án xử 3 nhà yêu nước

FIDH: Hãy huỷ bỏ mọi cáo buộc xảo trá chống các nhà bảo vệ nhân quyền Bùi Thị Minh Hằng, Nguyễn Thị Thuý Quỳnh, và Nguyễn Văn Minh

Force Change: Drop Arbitrary Charges Against Human Rights Activists

The Diplomat: Vietnamese Activists Get Three Years in Prison for ‘Obstructing Traffic’ 

Frontline Defenders: Vietnam – Update: Human rights defender Ms Bui Thi Minh Hang sentenced to three years imprisonment

=================

U.S. Condemns Vietnam’s Imprisoning Three Social Activists

In its press release on Aug 27, one day after Vietnam imprisoned social activists Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Nguyen Van Minh for fabricated traffic obstruction, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi expressed its deep concerns about the sentences, saying the use of public disorder laws by Vietnamese authorities to imprison government critics for peacefully expressing their political views is alarming.

This conviction appears to be inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression and Vietnam’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and commitments reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said the embassy.

It called on the government to release unconditionally these three individuals, as well as all other prisoners of conscience, and allow all Vietnamese to express their political views.

Police arrested Mrs. Hang, Ms. Quynh, and Mr. Minh on February 11, 2014, in Lap Vo District, Dong Thap Province, as the three were travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap province to visit former political prisoner Nguyen Bac Truyen and his wife.

According to indictments, Mrs. Hang and Ms. Quynh were reportedly to conduct public disorder by shouting at policemen, attracting local people thus affecting vehicles movement and causing traffic jam for over two hours. Meanwhile, Mr. Minh was accused of conducting activities against police officers.

BBC: Mỹ phản đối án tù ở Đồng Tháp

VOA News: US Slams Vietnam for Jailing Dissidents 

RFI: Mỹ lên án Việt Nam kết án 3 nhà hoạt động nhân quyền 

US Embassy: Tuyên bố của Đại sứ quán Hoa Kỳ: Về quyết định của Chính phủ Việt Nam kết án các nhà hoạt độngà Bùi Thị Minh Hằng, Nguyễn Thị Thuý Quỳnh và Nguyễn Văn Minh

U.S Embassy: Press Release: Vietnamese Government’s Decision to Convict Activists Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, and Nguyen Van Minh

====================

Saigon-based Lien Tri Pagoda under Demolition Threat

Chief monk Thich Khong Thanh of the Saigon-based Lien Tri Pagoda on Aug 18 received an invitation of the An Khanh communal People Committee to work with local leadership on the pagoda demolition. The invitation letter contained threat “to use administrative measures” to take the land on which the pagoda is built.

Monk Thich Khong Tanh replied with a letter containing two proposals and two requests:

– Asking Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Ho Chi Minh City People Committee to stop police’s harassments against monks and followers, removing police’s barricade.

– Demanding the prime minister and local authorities to respect human rights, rights of freedom of religion and stop a plan to take the pagoda’s land for other purposes.

– The pagoda’s leadership rejects to take nearly VND5.42 billion offered by the District 2 as a compensation for the pagoda demolition.

– Monks in the pagoda will conduct hunger strike and pray for human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam.

VRNs: Chùa Liên Trì bị đe doạ phá huỷ 

Ghpgvntn: TĂNG ĐOÀN GHPGVNTN PHẢN ĐỐI VIỆC GIẢI TỎA CHÙA LIÊN TRÌ, VÀ BẢN ÁN PHI LÝ KẾT TỘI 3 NHÀ HOẠT ĐỘNG NHÂN QUYỀN BÙI THỊ MINH HẰNG, NGUYỂN THỊ THÚY QUỲNH, NGUYỂN VĂN MINH 

VRNs: Lien Tri Pagoda will be demolished

Defend the Defenders: HỘI ĐỒNG LIÊN TÔN VIỆT NAM TUYÊN BỐ VỀ VIỆC NHÀ CẦM QUYỀN CỘNG SẢN VIỆT NAM TRIỆT HẠ CHÙA LIÊN TRÌ

Defend the Defenders: Thông Bạch – Cộng sản Việt Nam dùng bạo lực cưỡng chế, giải tỏa Chùa Liên Trì, Thủ Thiêm, Sài gòn

******27/8/2014*******

Netizens Responsible for Sharing Information on Social Networks

Circular 9 of the Ministry of Information and Communication regulating “Management, providing and using information on websites and social networks” states that netizens can share information on their personal pages but are responsible for content of the shared information.

The circular did not allow individuals to provide multi-field information. Internal websites, specialized electronic websites, and social networks need to get approval for providing multi-field information.

Similarly, if these websites want to set up social networks, they have to submit for approval. Organizations and companies establishing social networks are responsible before law for the information they provide. Within 90 days of getting approval, if organizations and companies failed to set up websites providing multi-field information, the approval will become ineffective.

Vietnamnet: Người dùng phải chịu trách nhiệm thông tin chia sẻ trên MXH

===============

International Amnesty: Vietnam Police Beat Citizens outside Courtroom to Suppress Support Activities

The Vietnamese authorities must stop attacks on peaceful activists, Amnesty International said on Aug 26 after three human rights defenders were sentenced to jail and police beat and arrested their supporters.

Women activists Bui Thi Minh Hang and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, along with their male co-defendant Nguyen Van Minh, were handed between two and three-year jail terms on charges of “disturbing public order” at Dong Thap Provincial People’s Court in Viet Nam.

Dozens of their supporters, including family members, bloggers and other civil society activists, were harassed, beaten and arrested to prevent them from attending the court hearing.

“Today’s verdict appears to be another attempt to punish peaceful activism in Vietnam”, said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

The three activists were attacked and arrested by police along with 18 others in February 2014 while trying to visit former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Bac Truyen at his fiance’s home.

“Vietnam should rein in its police and stop attacks on peaceful activists, their families and supporters,” said Rupert Abbott.

“All those imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights should be immediately and unconditionally released,” the IA said.

Ân Xá Quốc Tế: Công an VN đánh đập bên ngoài tòa án nhằm trấn áp các hoạt động ủng hộ

Amnesty International: Viet Nam: Police beatings outside court amid crackdown on activism

VNRN: Police arrest people attending activist’s trial

VNTB: Hai ngày đối mặt với công an

HPNNQ: Lên tiếng của Hội phụ nữ Nhân quyền Việt Nam về tình hình đàn áp ngoài phiên tòa xử ba nhà hoạt động

Dân làm báo: Bộ CA náo loạn trước phiên xử Bùi Hằng

Defend the Defenders: Dozens of Vietnamese Detained outside Courtroom against Activists

========================

Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church, Vietnam Path Movement Protest Conviction of Three Social Activists

On Aug 27, the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church and the Vietnam Path Movement voiced to protest Vietnam’s decision to put three social activists Mrs. Bui Thi Minh Hang, Ms. Nguyen Th Thuy Quynh and Mr. Nguyen Van Minh in prison for bogus traffic offenses.

The Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church demanded Vietnam’s government to dismiss the shame sentences and release Mrs. Hang, Ms. Quynh anhd Mr. Minh immediately and unconditionally.

The Vietnam Path Movement also issued a statement requesting the communist government to free the trio immediately.

“The arrest and trial of the three social activists are political move aiming to suppress Mrs. Hang and her fellows,” said the Vietnam Path Movement.

“The Vietnam Path Movement strongly protests the arrest and unfair trial of Vietnam’s government against three citizens Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Nguyen Van Minh as well as suppression and illegal detention of citizens outside of the courtroom.”

GHPGMNTN: Giáo hội phật giáo VN thống nhất và Con đường VN phản đối bản án đối với 3 nhà hoạt động

Fb Con đường VN: Tuyên bố của Con Đường Việt Nam về phiên tòa xử Bùi Thị Minh Hằng, Nguyễn Thị Thuý Quỳnh và Nguyễn Văn Minh

********28/8/2014********

Joint Statement of IJAVN, FVPoC on Vietnam’s Violation on Right to Freedom of Movement

In their joint statement released on Aug 28, the Independent Journalists of Vietnam (IJAVN) and the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPoC) condemned Vietnamese government’s violation on the rights of freedom of movement.

The joint statement wrote: “Once again Vietnamese security forces harassed, beat tens of human rights defenders and independent journalists, including  Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, Ven.Thich Thien Minh, former political prisoner Pham Ba Hai, journalist Truong Minh Duc, journalist Phan Thanh Hai, journalist Huynh Ngoc Chenh, journalist Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and journalist Pham Chi Dung in order to prevent them from attending the trial of Bui Thi Minh Hang.”

The two unlicensed organizations also informed that Pham Chi Dung was summoned by Ho Chi Minh City police prior to Mrs. Hang’s trial as well as during the visit of the UN special reporter on religious freedom to Vietnam in July 21-31.

In addition, Mr. Pham Dinh Trong was detained and blocked from going out.

The two bodies also urged U.S.’s Congress and government to carefully and conditionally consider favorable policies for Vietnam as in TPP’s negotiation, removal of lethal weapons embargo, army cooperation, ODA, as well as meetings with senior leaders, as General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Hanoi party secretary Pham Quang Nghi, etc. if Vietnam does not have the lowest level to implement the basic requirements of human rights and democracy to their citizens.

CTNLT: Tuyên bố liên hội Nhà báo độc lập VN – Cựu tù nhân lương tâm VN về việc nhà cầm quyền vi phạm quyền tự do đi lại của công dân

FVPoC: Joint statement of IJAVN and FVPoC on the Vietnam government’ violation on the right to the freedom of movement

********29/8/2014**********

Germany Slams Vietnam’s Imprisoning Three Social Activists

Mr. Christoph Strässer, human rights commissioner of the German Federal Government on Aug 27 issued a statement expressing his deep concerns on long-term imprisonments over the three activists, saying it approved that Vietnam’s human rights situation is still bad as the government critics have been harassed, suppressed and imprisoned.

He asked Vietnam’s authorities to immediately release the trio, saying Hanoi should respect international norm on human rights after the communist nation was elected in UN Human Rights Council.

Sứ quán Đức: Phái viên về chính sách nhân quyền và viện trợ nhân đạo của Chính phủ Đức ra tuyên bố về vụ xử 3 nhà hoạt động

==========

Ministry of Public Security Establishes Department of Cyber Security

On Aug 28, the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security debuted its newly-established Department of Cyber Security, materializing its plan for setting up a special unit made five years ago.

Vietnam is among countries with high risks of cyber attacks, suffering thousands of cyber attacks every year.

Experts have warned that most of Vietnamese websites will stop if cyber war occurs.

Major electronic websites such as Tuoi Tre, Dan Tri, VDC and VietnamNet have been attacked by hackers for days.

There are some accusations saying Vietnam’s government has been involving in refusing access to politically sensitive websites.

BBC: VN thành lập Cục An ninh mạng

VOV: Quyết định thành lập Cục An ninh mạng – Bộ Công an

===================

Lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan Shows Disrespect to Administrative Fines

In her recent interview to BBC, lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan said Vietnam security agents are still following her and preventing her from going out of her commune, although her three-year home arrest expired already.

“They (police agents) regularly station outside of my house and detain me when I go out, except I go to market in the commune,” she said.

Lawyer Nhan said she did not recognize the jail sentence and the three-year probation period set by the Vietnamese government, so she never asked authorities to go out within the capital city of Hanoi.

She was detained nine times for going out without asking for approval and was fined in three times for violating “house arrest regulation,” she informed. In two times, she tore the fine order before policemen but kept one for memory.

She was detained when she had  meetings with foreign diplomatic representatives or made interviews with foreign media

Most recently, she was blocked by policemen when she planned to go to the northern city of Haiphong to attend a memorial meeting for the mother of Ms. Pham Thanh Nghien, another former political prisoner.

BBC: Luật sư Công Nhân ‘xé giấy phạt quản chế’

==================

14 International Organizations Ask Vietnam President to Free Le Quoc Quan on National Day

On Aug 26, the Amnesty International, Article 19, CenterLaw Philippines, Electronic Frontier Foundation, English Pen, Frontline Defenders, Lawyers for Lawyers, Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada, Media Defense – Southeast Asia, Media Legal Defense Initiative, National Endowment for Democracy, Reporters Without Borders, ASF Network, World Movement for Democracy sent a joint letter to President Truong Tan Sang asking Vietnam to respect a decision of UN Working Team to free lawyer Le Quoc Quan unconditionally on an occasion of the national day.

Mr. Quan, a human rights campaigner, was arrested on Dec 27, 2012 and was charged for fabricated tax evasion. He was refused to meet a lawyer and family members in the first two months after the arrest.

On Oct 2, 2013, Mr. Quan was sentenced to 30 months in jail, and a fine of VND1.2 billion ($59,000).

Dân làm báo: Thư của 14 tổ chức quốc tế gửi Chủ tịch Nước yêu cầu thả Ls Lê Quốc Quân nhân dịp Quốc Khánh 2-9 

ARTICLE 19 , Electronic Frontier Foundation , Reporters Without Borders : Joint appeal for the release of detained human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan 

LRWC: Viet Nam: Arbitrary Detention of Mr. Le Quoc Quan

=======================

Blogger Dieu Cay Refuses to Plead for Release

Prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay), who is handed his 12-year imprisonment in Thanh Chuong detention facility in Nghe An province, telephoned to his family, saying police met him in his cell, asking him to write a letter to plead for release, however, he refused.

Instead, he asked them to explain the reasons for his initial arrest and demanded that he be freed without condition.

Many people, especially Hai’s family, hope the communist government to free him. Following a visit to Vietnam in early August by U.S. Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse, rumors have spread that Hai may be freed from jail on Vietnam’s Independence Day on Sept. 2, said his wife Duong Thi Tan.

“But with this regime, I won’t believe this is true until Hai is standing right in front of us,” she said.

Hai, who is also known by his pen name Dieu Cay, was charged for conducting “anti-state propaganda” amid a crackdown on bloggers in the one-party state after his online articles slammed communist rule and highlighted alleged abuses by the authorities.

Arrested in April 2008 after helping to lead anti-China protests, Hai was sentenced in 2009 to 30 months in prison on a charge of tax evasion but was not freed after completing his term, and was then charged with carrying out propaganda against the state.

An appeals court upheld his sentence in December 2012, and authorities have repeatedly transferred him from one prison to another.

Ijavn: “Tự do cho Điếu Cày”: Hy vọng “đặc xá” lớn dần

RFA: Blogger Điếu Cày được yêu cầu viết đơn xin tha tù

RFA: Jailed Vietnamese Blogger Refuses to Plead For Release

======================

Message of EU Ambassador on Conviction of Three Social Activists

Ambassador Franz Jessen, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam on Aug 27 issued a statement on the conviction of Mrs Bui Thi Minh Hang, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, Mr Nguyen Van Minh who were charged with bogus traffic offense.

In his statement, Ambassador Franz Jessen expressed his deep concern over the sentencing of Mrs. Hang, Ms. Quynh, and Mr. Nguyen Van Minh to 3 years, 2 years and 2.5 years, respectively, in prison.

He recalls the fundamental right for all persons to freely and peacefully express their opinions, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam is a party.

As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam should adhere to the highest standards with regards to Human and Political Rights, he said, calling on Vietnam to release all peaceful advocates of human rights in the country.

The European Union will continue to work in partnership with Vietnam on these and other human rights and rule of law issues, he said.

EUROPEAN UNION: Thông điệp của Đại sứ Franz Jessen về việc kết án bà Bùi Thị Minh Hằng, bà Nguyễn Thị Thúy Quỳnh và ông Nguyễn Văn Minh 

EUROPEAN UNION: Message by Ambassador Franz Jessen on the deep conviction of Mrs Bui Thi Minh Hang, Mrs Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, Mr Nguyen Van Minh

=========================

Prominent Blogger Sentenced to Three Years in Prison: Reporters Without Borders

The Vietnamese authorities displayed their warped sense of justice again on 26 August when a people’s court in the southern province of Dong Thap sentenced blogger and pro-democracy activist Bui Thi Minh Hang to three years in prison at the end of a summary trial that violated defense rights.

Two other activists who were tried with her, Nguyen Van Minh and Thi Thuy Quynh, were given jail terms of 30 and 24 months respectively. All three were convicted of “causing public disorder” under paragraphs (a) and (b) of article 245 of the penal code.

The authorities deployed major security measures at the trial and prevented more than 200 people, including friends and relatives, from attending. Around 40 bloggers who went to the courthouse to support the defendants were roughed up and arrested by police, who confiscated mobile phones, cameras and other electronic devices.

Four defense witnesses were also prevented from attending the trial, in which the prosecution used rigged evidence. Bloggers who were present at Hang’s arrest said they were pressured by police to make written statements identifying her as the instigator of the alleged “public disorder.”

 “This latest jail sentence, imposed in complete violation of defense rights, is further evidence of the Vietnamese authorities’ contempt for freedom of information and for those who try to use this freedom,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific Desk.

“We call for the immediate release of Hang and all the other bloggers who are being held for political reasons.”

RSF: Phóng viên Không biên giới: Blogger có tiếng tăm đã bị kết án ba năm tù

RSF: PROMINENT BLOGGER SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON

*******30/8/2014*******

31 Australian Lawmakers Urge Vietnamese PM to Release Doan Huy Chuong and Nguyen Quoc Hung

The office of Congressman Chris Hayes recently unveiled a letter signed by 31 Australian lawmakers asking Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to release two union activists Doan Huy Chuong and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung.

“As member of the Australian Parliament, we write to express our concern regarding the continued imprisonment of Doan Huy Chuong and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung who were incarcerated since February 2010,” they said in the joint letter.

“Despite being convicted on national security charges, we understand their activities were in simply to support workers’ right in industrial dispute,” they wrote.

Furthermore, we are aware of reports indicating that Mr. Hung and Mr. Chuong have been subject to harsh treatment including periods of solitary confinement.”

FB Nguyễn Quang Duy: Ba mươi mốt dân biểu Úc lên tiếng kêu gọi thủ tướng Nguyễn Tấn Dũng thả ngay Đoàn Huy Chương và Nguyễn Hoàng Quốc Hùng

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Police Agents Intentionally Collide with Human Rights Activist

On the evening of Aug 28, police agents intentionally collided with a motorbike of lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen, who is former political prisoner and an activist to promote human rights and religious freedom in his hometown of Dong Thap.

After the incident, Mr. Truyen fell to street, and was brought to a local hospital with a number of severe injuries.

Mr. Truyen was imprisoned three and half years on charge of “conducting anti-state activities” according to Article 88 of the Criminal Code in 2007.

He was harassed and beaten by plain clothed thugs many time.

VRNs: An ninh mật vụ tông xe luật gia Nguyễn Bắc Truyển

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OHCHR Expresses Concern over Conviction of Three Vietnamese Activists

On Aug 29, the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) issued a statement to express its concerned that a court in Viet Nam has convicted and imprisoned three human rights defenders for their peaceful human rights work.

The regular arrests and harsh convictions of human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists is in contravention of Vietnam’s international obligations to uphold freedom of expression, assembly and association under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said the OHCHR, adding it has on many past occasions raised concerns with the Vietnamese government regarding this disturbing trend.

In February 2014 the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders also raised such concerns, describing “a pattern of targeting, intimidating and silencing peaceful pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders who exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression and their right to freedom of association in the country,” said the Bangkok-based body.

On 11 February 2014, the three human rights defenders were arrested after they organized a group to visit the home of human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Mr. Nguyen Bac Truyen who had been reportedly beaten by police and briefly detained at Chi Hoa Prison. The group was arrested.

After two days, 18 of them were released, while the three human rights defenders were held in detention until their conviction this Tuesday. According to information received, the trial was not open and a number of relatives and activists who tried to attend the trial were prevented by police from doing so. Some were put under informal house arrest, while others were intercepted by police while travelling to the court house. There was reportedly a large police presence restricting entry to the court, the OHCHR noted.

OHCHR : THÔNG CÁO BÁO CHÍ: VĂN PHÒNG CAO ỦY NHÂN QUYỀN LIÊN HỢP QUỐC QUAN NGẠI VỀ BẢN ÁN BUỘC TỘI BA NHÀ ĐẤU TRANH CHO NHÂN QUYẾN Ở VIỆT NAM 

OHCHR: PRESS RELEASE: UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED WITH THE CONVICTION OF THREE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN VIET NAM

*********31/8/2014*********

Lawyer Le Dinh Quan Completes His 22-month Jail Sentence

On Aug 30, Lawyer Le Dinh Quan, the youngest brother of prominent human rights activist lawyer Le Quoc Quan, completed his 22-month jail sentence.

The younger lawyer is a director of Vietnam Credit Co. He was arrested on Oct 30, 2012 and was charged with tax evasion in a case believed to aim to economically affect Mr. Quan’s family.

Vietnam’s security forces suspected that Vietnam Credit Co. runs illegal website Quan Lam Bao, however, after the long investigation, they found any evidence.

FB Con Đường Việt Nam: Lê Đình Quản, em trai luật sư Lê Quốc Quân, mãn hạn 22 tháng tù giam

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Vietnam General Confederation of Labor Concerned When Vietnam Participates in TPP

Senior officials of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor expressed their concerns about human rights regulations when Vietnam participates in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

At a seminar held on Aug 29 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vu Quang Tho, head of the Institute of Trade Union under the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor emphasized conditions of TPP and EVFTA under which members are asked to respect rights of laborers, civil societies, working standards, and right to independent trade unions and freedom of assembly.

According to Vietnam’s state-controlled media, the issues relating to jobs, laborers’ income, international labor standards on independent trade union and assembly are challenging for the communist nation.

RFA: Tổng Liên đoàn Lao động lo ngại khi VN tham gia TPP

Summary by Nguyen Thanh Thuy

Translation by Vu Quoc Ngu