Sept 22- 28, 2014 Defender’s Weekly: Prisoner of Conscience Nguyen Tuan Nam Released at Very Bad Health Conditions

Defenders-weekly-28Defend the Defenders | 29/9/2014

Defenders’ Weekly

Washington is willing to help Vietnam enhance its coastal surveillance and protection, said Reuters on Sept 24, citing information from high-ranking officials in the U.S.’s government. According to Reuters, one of the first weapons that the U.S. may provide for Vietnam is unarmed surveillance airplane P-3.

A report in the US Congress has disclosed that the US and Vietnam are discussing about Vietnam taking 2 steps, one is to amend laws to return union rights to workers, and two is to form a mechanism to monitor to see if workers are stopped from using these rights. The report also says that only after Vietnam takes these 2 steps will the US Congress consider TPP.

On Sept 23, the People’s Court in Nhon Trach district in Dong Nai province sentenced 12 peoples to between ten months and 16 months in prison for “gathering to cause public disorders and heavy damages for companies in Nhon Trach Industrial Zone on May 13.”

Tran Tu and Nguyen Van Nam, two long-term political prisoners, were released on Sept 24.

and many other interesting news


“U.S. needs to remove its lethal weapon ban”

“Washington needs a strong partner in Vietnam to counter to China’s aggression in the South China Sea,” said Paul J. Leaf in his article posted on

Since 1984, the U.S. has imposed lethal weapon embargo over Vietnam due to Hanoi’s bad human rights record. In 2007, Bush’s administration eased the ban, allowing export of non-lethal military equipment to the communist nation.

Washington is still imposing export ban of lethal weaponry to Hanoi as the U.S. said Hanoi has not improved its human rights records, as Vietnam limits press, speech and religious freedoms, curtails ethnic minorities’ and workers’ rights, and lacks due process and an independent judiciary.

There is no solid reason which will guarantee Hanoi and Washington to become allies against China, Leaf concluded.

BBC: ‘Mỹ cần sớm bỏ lệnh cấm bán vũ khí’ 


PM to Decide Land Dispute in Con Dau Parish

The prime minister will decide land dispute in Con Dau parish where local authorities are trying to seize land and cemetery of parish’s residents for building ecological tourism site, according to the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment.

The ministry announced the news after a dialogue between 62 families in Con Dau parish and inspectors of the ministry and representatives of the Danang city’s People’s Committee on Sept 15 and Sept 17.

According to the state media, the dialogue was frank but ended without reaching any consensus to settle land dispute.

Con Dau followers said they hope the government leader will settle fairly unlike the case in Tien Lang district in Haiphong city on which farmer Doan Van Vuon and his brother were imprisoned although the prime minister publicly said that the land seizure against his family was illegal.

RFA: Vụ đất đai Cồn Dầu chờ kết luận của thủ tướng


Vietnam Urged to Amend Law Respecting Independent Trade Union before Joining TPP

A report in the US Congress has disclosed that the US and Vietnam are discussing about Vietnam taking 2 steps, one is to amend laws to return union rights to workers, and two is to form a mechanism to monitor to see if workers are stopped from using these rights. The report also says that only after Vietnam takes these 2 steps will the US Congress consider TPP.

Congressman Sander Levin, a ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee under the U.S. House of Representatives, is the author of this 18 September report. In the section “Work To Be Done”, he used the phrase “May 10 agreement” which has been used by the US Congress and executive since 2007 as a shorthand for requirements on union rights, no use of forced labor, and no use of workers under 18. This phrase also includes requirements on the environment, patents, and investment.

LĐV: VN phải có luật tôn trọng công đoàn độc lập thì QH Mỹ mới cứu xét TPP 

LDV: VN must legalise unions before US Congress considers TPP 


HCM City-based Lien Tri Pagoda Asked to Move for New Urban Area

Authorities in Vietnam’s southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City have asked monks of Lien Tri Pagoda under the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), a sect which is not recognized by the communist government, to remove the worshiping facility by end-September.

After the deadline, Lien Tri Pagoda would be cleared away for the establishment of a new urban area, Chief Monk of the pagoda Thich Khong Tanh said.

Located in Thu Thiem peninsular in District 2, the pagoda is famous for charity activities, including offering gifts to wounded soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam, gathering former political prisoners or civil societies.

The pagoda is a place for a number of charity activities and meeting of civil societies which are not licensed by the local authorities.

Along with Lien Tri Pagoda, Thu Thiem Church and Men Thanh Gia Church School are demanded to be removed.

BBC: Chùa Liên Trì bị yêu cầu giao mặt bằng


Vietnam Continues Its Repression against Religion

The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), a unlicensed Buddhist sect which fights for the independence of Vietnam’s Buddhist, protests the Vietnamese government’s attempt to control religions. It is also an organization advocating for freedom of religion in the country.

Since its establishment, monks in UBCV’s leadership have been harassed by the government by numerous methods. Recently, the government has applied land seizure to take land of religious facilities and offices nationwide.

Authorities in Danang have issued a decision to take land where An Cu Pagoda is located in An Cu street in An Hai Bac ward in Son Tra district. An Cu Pagoda is one of pagodas managed by the UBCV, mastered by Thich Thien Duc.

On March 13, Huynh Thi Lieu Hoa, vice chairwoman of Son Tra district People Committee signed a Decision No.1175/QĐ-UBND to seize An Cu Pagoda’s land and hand it over to local authorities for building An Cu 4 urban area.



Ha Dong People’s Court Tries Two Duong Noi Farmers in Land Dispute

On Sept 23, the People’s Court in Ha Dong district in Hanoi tried Mr. Tran Van Mien and Mr. Tran Van Sang for conducting public disorders according to Clause 2 of Article 245 of the Criminal Code.

Mrs. Do Thi Luyen, 78, the mother of Mr. Sang said her son was severely beaten in detention facility. He was forced to meet his lawyer on wheel since he couldn’t not walk after being beaten by police officers.

Mrs. Luyen stated that she will ask the chief judge of the Supreme Court to settle and bring justice for her son. Her son is innocent, just asking for his interests but not conducting any damages.

Mrs. Tran Thi Nhan, wife of Mr. Tran Van Mien, asked the authorities to free her husband and Mr. Sang in the court since the duo is innocent.

Meeting his lawyer Tran Thu Nam in the police detention facility, Mr. Mien said he is innocent.

Lawyer Nam informed that the trial was scheduled on Sept 23 while the court had not informed the accused families.

Mr. Trinh Ba Phuong, a son of imprisoned Can Thi Theu, said Duong Noi farmers will gather in the court to demand for their release. “Mr. Sang and Mr. Mien are two farmers in Duong Noi trying to protect their production tool. On Sept 23, Duong Noi farmers will attend the court and demand Hanoi’s authorities to conduct open trial fairly. If they will give unfair sentences, we will fight for justice for imprisoned farmers,” Phuong said.

VNRs: Hôm nay tiếp tục xử dân oan Dương Nội


Blogger Pham Viet Dao Interviewed by RFA about Charges under Article 258

Blogger Pham Viet Dao recently completed his 15-month imprisonment for allegation of conducting activities violating Article 258 of the Criminal Code. He was found guilty of abusing democracy to violate interests of the state, organizations and individuals.

In his interview to the Radio of Free Asia (RFA), Mr. Dao talked about allegations which helped to imprison him with controversial accusation under Article 258.

His trial was open but Hanoi’s authorities did not allow public to attend. He was informed about the trial in the evening prior to the hearing day. The trial was not normal, he said. He refused to hire lawyer to avoid authorities’ trap to delay the trial, he said.

In the hearing, a representative of the Supreme Procuracy said he did not agree with Mr. Dao’s accusation according to Clause 2 of Article 258 but the judge ignored, he said.

RFA: Blogger Phạm Viết Đào trả lời RFA về “tội danh 258”


Vietnam Dong Nai Imprisons 12 Rioters during Anti-China Protests in May

The Nhon Trach district People’s Court in Vietnam’s southern province of Dong Nai on Sept 23 imprisoned 12 rioters for looting and inciting people for anti-China demonstrations in local industrial zones in mid May, state media reported.

According to the verdicts, the twelve people conducted demolition of foreign-invested factories and encouraged local workers to cause social disorders during the riots on May 13, which were triggered by the Chinese deployment of its HYSY-981 oil rig in the country’s central offshore in early May.

The court gave these convicted rioters who were found to destroy properties of Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean firms of between 10 months and 16 months in prison.

The peaceful anti-China protests with the participation of tens of thousands of workers in Dong Nai’s industrial zones in mid-May turned violent as many demonstrators attacked foreign-invested companies from China and Taiwan, stealing properties and destroying properties of these firms. Some South Korean firms were also targeted.

Along with jailing rioters, Dong Nai has offered incentives for riot-affected companies, including providing soft loans and refunding VND519.4 billion ($24.4 million) value-added tax (VAT).

Thousands of Vietnamese were arrested during anti-China protests in May in the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong and the central province of Ha Tinh and many of them were imprisoned.

State media reported that Ho Chi Minh City’s police found that “the U.S.-based Vietnam Reform Party (Viet Tan) incited bad individuals” to attack foreign-invested companies in industrial zones.

VOA: Thêm 12 người lãnh án tù vì các cuộc bạo động chống TQ

BBC: Bỏ tù người ‘gây rối’ vụ giàn khoan 


U.S. Is Going to Remove Lethal Weapon Embargo against Vietnam?

The U.S. is going to remove its lethal weapon embargo against Vietnam, the move may help Hanoi deal with China’s challenges in the East Sea.

High-ranking officials of Barack Obama informed Reuters that the two countries are negotiating on removing the ban, and the decision may be taken by the year-end.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the second high-ranking member of the Democratic Party in the House Armed Service Committee, said she is very concern as Vietnam’s government has sought to purchase weapons to protect the regime as its highest priority.

Congresswoman Sanchez emphasized that U.S.’s legislators have sought to ask Vietnam to improve its human rights record. She is working with other Congress members and Obama’s Administration to deal with Hanoi’s human rights violations and make clearly that Vietnam can improve bilateral ties with the U.S. once Hanoi respect its citizens’ basic rights, including freedom of religions, freedom of expression and rights of assembly.

VOA: Mỹ sắp nới lỏng lệnh cấm vận vũ khí cho Việt Nam? 

IJAVN: Bỏ cấm vận vũ khí: Không cần quyền “đàm phán nhanh”!

VOA: Bộ trưởng Ngoại giao VN: Cấm vận vũ khí là điều bất thường


Vietnam Public Opinions on Possibility of U.S. Removal of Lethal Weapon

The issue regarding the U.S.’s plan to remove its lethal weapon embargo imposed over Vietnam since 1985 is an interesting news for many Vietnamese amid tensions in the East Sea where China is conducting a number of aggressive move to assert its illegal claim of nearly the entire sea.

Major General Le Ma Luong, former director of Vietnam Military Historic Museum praised the U.S.’s move which will help Vietnam enhance its defense capacity.

The embargo removal will enhance Vietnam’s defense capacity to protect its island and sea waters. Purchasing modern weaponry, especially warplanes, will empower Vietnam’s army, he said, adding it will raise confidence of Vietnamese soldiers.

Colonel Bui Van Bong, former head representative of Quan Doi Nhan Dan newspaper, the mouth piece of the Vietnam People’s Army in the Mekong Delta region said weapons are very important but human resources are more important. Without human resources, any modern weapons remain useless, he said.

RFA: Dư luận trong nước về việc Mỹ sắp bỏ cấm vận vũ khí Việt Nam

VOA: Bỏ cấm vận võ khí cho Việt Nam: đang thương thảo, chưa quyết định


Prisoner of Conscience Nguyen Dinh Cuong Punished in Solitary Confinement

Political prisoner Nguyen Dinh Cuong was fettered in a solitary confinement for 11 consecutive days on Sept 3-14, said his relatives after visited him on Sept 19.

He was not allowed to take bath in these days, said Cuong’s sister, adding he refused to take food during the 11-day period.

He was punished by authorities of Nam Ha prison in Kim Bang district in Ha Nam province for defaming the state and the communist party, she noted.

Mr. Cuong is one of group of Christian followers in Nghe An province. He was sentenced to 4 years in jail and three years under house arrest by Nghe An province’s People Court on May 23, 2013 for allegation of conducting activities aiming to overthrow people’s government according to Article 79 of the Criminal Code.

VRNs: Tù nhân lương tâm Nguyễn Đình Cương bị biệt giam


Two More Duong Noi Imprisoned in Land Dispute Case in Hanoi

One Sept 23, Mr. Tran Van Mien and Mr. Tran Van Sang in Duong Noi village were sentenced to 22 months and 20 months in jail, respectively for allegation of conducting activities which cause public disorder by Hanoi’s court.

Their lawyer Tran Thu Nam said at an interview with the Voice of America Radio that he is not satisfied and disagreed with the sentences.

The lawyer and the accused duo are on the same opinion that they are not guilty. They were not charged for damaging properties but conducting public disorders according to Clause 2 of Article 245 of the Criminal Code, lawyer Nam said.

So far, seven farmers in Duong Noi have been tried on land disputes by Ha Dong district People’s Court.

Numerous farmers in Duong Noi and other people from other locations gathered in front of the building of the Vietnam Fatherland Front to protest unfair trials.

VOA: Hai người bị phạt tù trong vụ tranh chấp đất đai ở Dương Nội


Vietnam Releases Two Political Prisoners Tran Tu and Nguyen Tuan Nam

On Sept 25-26, Vietnam unexpectedly released two political prisoners namely Tran Tu and Nguyen Tuan Nam.

Mr. Tran Tu, born in 1941, citizen of the United States, is a member of the Vietnam Revolutionary Party Coalition. He was arrested in March 1993 in Saigon and was sentenced to life imprisonment on the charge of “attempt to overthrow the state.”

Tu was detained at Ba Sao prison, Nam Ha province.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Tuan Nam, born in 1938, was a member of the People’s Action Party. He was arrested at Cambodia-Thailand border in November 1996 and was sentenced to 19 years in prison for “fleeing abroad to oppose the people’s administration” and spent his imprisonment in Z30A Xuan Loc, Dong Nai province.

The Vietnam Revolutionary Party Coalition and People’s Action Party are two non-violent, political organizations struggling for freedom, democracy and human rights in Vietnam.

Mr. Nam is in very bad health condition. Since early 2013, he was transferred in the prison’s clinic.

Having no relatives, and without any help from authorities, he was transferred by the prison ambulance to his prison cellmate, former political prisoner Pham Ba Hai in Saigon.

IJAVN: Hai tù nhân chính trị Trần Tư và Nguyễn Tuấn Nam “bất ngờ” được phóng thích


FVPoC Condemns Vietnam’s Government Continuous Political Suppression

The Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPoP) on Sept 28 issued a statement to condemn the Vietnamese government’s continuous suppression against peaceful political dissidents and its policy to severely treat political prisoners.

In order to maintain its political monopoly, Vietnam has harassed those who criticize government’s policies, and used political prisoners as hostages to bargain with international community when it wants to join some global organizations or seek to escape sanctions imposed by foreign countries.

Vietnam has implied inhumane treatment measures against political prisoners such as putting them in solitary confinement, leaving them in starvation, beating, refusing medical treatment and providing tainted food with poisons.

Due to bad treatment in prison, many political prisoners died during imprisonment, others, including Mr. Truong Van Suong, Nguyen Van Trai, Dinh Dang Dinh, Huynh Anh Tri, Nguyen Huu Cau, and Nguyen Tuan Nam have suffered from incurable diseases, the FVPoP said.

Vietnam’s authorities continue to harass political prisoners after they completed their sentences. They have refused to provide identification cards, prevent them from renting houses, and intervene employers to hire them to earn for living.

The FVPoP calls on democratic governments, international human rights organizations to take special attention to the tragic situation of the former political prisoners, former prisoners of conscience who continue to suffer in Vietnam.

It urged local citizens and foreign institutions to help former political prisoners overcome difficulties.

CTNLT: Hội Cựu Tù Nhân Lương Tâm Lên tiếng vụ hai tù nhân lương tâm Nguyễn Tuấn Nam và Trần Tư được trả tự do

CTNLT: FVPoC’s statement on the pardon to prisoners of conscience Nguyen Tuan Nam and Tran Tu

Summary: Nguyen Ngoc Anh

Translator: Vu Quoc Ngu