October 6, 2014
Sept 29- Oct 5, 2014 Defender’s Weekly: Political Prisoner Dau Van Duong Released Four Months before His Term Ends
Defend the Defenders | 06/10/2014
On Oct 2, prisoner of conscience Dau Van Duong was released four months before completing his 42-month imprisonment. He is one of young Catholic and Protestant followers in Nghe An province arrested and sentenced in 2012 for allegation of conducting anti-state activities according to Article 88 of the Criminal Code.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh visited the U.S. on Oct 1-2 to meet with State Secretary John Kerry. They talked on agreement on the removal of U.S. arm embargo over the communist nation. It is expected Washington to ease partially its ban on lethal weaponry to Vietnam by the end of this year.
It is expected that 2,000 Cambodians to take part in anti-Vietnam demonstration scheduled to start on Saturday and will last for five days. These protesters think that Vietnam invaded their land.
On Sept 11, the Legal Committee of Vietnam’s legislative body National Assembly held its first public hearing to consider measures to stamp out police brutality and make it harder for heavy-handed interrogators to resort to torture and coercion.
and many other interesting news
Vietnam Parliament to Approve UN Convention against Torture in October Sitting
The Standing Committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) will draft a resolution to ratify UN Convention against Torture during its 31st meeting starting on Sept 22. The draft will be submitted to the parliament in its one-month working session starting on Oct. 20 for approval.
Vietnam signed the convention on Nov 8 last year.
Last week, the Human Rights Watch issued a report on Vietnam’s police brutality, according to which police’s abuse occurs in 44 provinces and five largest cities in all regions of the country between August 2010 and July 2014. During the four-year period, 28 Vietnamese died in police custody during their detention period, while 11 others were severely beaten by investigators.
On Sept 11, the NA’s Legal Committee held its first public hearing to consider measures to stamp out police brutality and make it harder for heavy-handed interrogators to resort to torture and coercion.
During the session, Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang admitted that 19 police officers have been fired for torturing suspects between 2011 and 2013. During the same three-year period, 183 others were disciplined for violating investigative procedures and regulations through dismissal, demotion or reassignment, he said.
How to End Inhumane Treatment against Political Prisoners
Four political prisoners namely Tran Tu, Nguyen Tuan Nam, Nguyen Long Hoi and Tran Hoang Giang were released in late September. The first two are over 70 and were given with life sentences while Mr. Hoi was sentenced to life imprisonment but was reduced to 20 years and Mr. Giang was given 15 years in jail and was released five months before his due ended.
After spending years in prison, these prisoners of consciences are at very bad health conditions, the Free Asia Radio (RFA) reported.
Mr. Nam, 76, has no relatives in Vietnam. His health is very bad and he was brought by a medical ambulance from the prison to the house of former political prisoner Pham Ba Hai, who shared a prison cell with him. Many inmates in his age died in prison due to severe conditions, he said.
Mr. Tu said his teethes dropped all after spending long times in prisons with hardest living conditions in the communist nation.
Mr. Giang, who was imprisoned since 2000 when he was 20. After spending 15 years in communist prison, his health was worsened, especially was forced to spend many times in solitary cells as punishment imposed by prison’s authorities after he protested their inhumane treatment.
The Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience has raised concerns over case of Mr. Tu, who was arrested as a member of the Vietnam Revolutionary Party Coalition and Mr. Nam, a member of the People’s Action Party.
The Vietnamese communist government has rejected to allow other political parties in the country even these parties intend to act peacefully. Hanoi has arrested, given hard sentences and imprisoned members of other parties.
Former Political Prisoner Nguyen Tuan Nam Needs Urgent Help
On Sept 29, Senior Buddhist monk Thich Thien Minh called on people to help Mr. Nguyen Tuan Nam, a former political prisoner who was recently released after spending 19 years in prison. Mr. Nam, semi-paralyzed, is without any relatives and currently stays at the house of former political prisoner Pham Ba Hai in Saigon.
Monk Minh informed that Mr. Nam or Bao Giang, 77, was arrested in Cambodia-Thailand border in October, 1996. He was sentenced to 19 years in jail and imprisoned in Z30A in Xuan Loc district in Dong Nai province. He was released on Sept 26.
Due to a stroke in January 2013, he was left disabled his left half body. Being transferred to the prison clinic, his health increasingly worsened. Currently, he speaks under his breath, cannot walk, even could not sit stably.
He was brought to Mr. Hai’s house by prison’s ambulance.
After visiting Mr. Nam and knowing his bad health, Senior monk Minh called for donation from people in the country and abroad.
Contact for donation: Mr. Pham Ba Hai, house number 11/4B Pham Van Sang, Xuan Thoi Thuong commune, Hoc Mon district, HCM City. Cell phone: 0945327937.
Hoa Hao Buddhist Monk Calls for Support Lien Tri Pagoda against Land Seizure
Mr. Le Quang Liem, senior member of Hoa Hao Buddhist Central Committee called on civil societies and activists in the country and abroad to voice against the plan of Ho Chi Minh City to seize the land on which is located Lien Tri Pagoda for building new urban area.
In his statement, Mr. Liem condemned the HCM City’s plan to remove Lien Tri Pagoda, saying the move is corruption act and violation of religious freedom.
The plan to seize land of Lien Tri Pagoda is the first step of the communist government to take properties from religious facilities. The next victims of the government would be Thu Thiem Catholic Church and other facilities, Mr. Liem noted.
He urged communist leaders to stop their acts which violate Article of the country’s Constitution and go against the international human rights norm. Vietnam, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, should respect religious freedom and respect properties of religions, he said.
Political Prisoner Dau Van Duong Released
The family of political prisoner Dau Van Duong received a news from a source in Detention No. 5 in Thanh Hoa informing that Mr. Duong will be released on Oct 2 before his term ends.
Mr. Duong is one of four political prisoners arrested in August 2011 on charges of conducting anti-state propaganda according to Clause 1 of Article 88 of the Criminal Code. Other three are Pet Tran Huu Duc, Ant Chu Manh Son and JB Hoang Phong.
Mr. Duong was sentenced to 42 months in jail and 18 months in house arrest.
Due to his good behavior in prison, he is released four months before his term ends.
Duong is one of three political prisoners released by the Vietnamese communist government since the National Day [Sept 2]. Other are Tran Tu and Nguyen Tuan Nam.
Vietnam Probes Judge of 10-year Wrongful-conviction Case
A former judge of the Supreme People’s Procuracy in Vietnam has been probed for “irresponsibility causing serious consequences” in a case in which his decision unjustly put a man in jail for 10 years.
Pham Tuan Chiem, 66, was accused of making judgment based on evidences which were illegally collected during the investigation of a murder case. As a result, an innocent citizen named Nguyen Thanh Chan was put into prison for the past decade.
Together with Mr. Chiem, a policeman and a procurator in the northern province of Bac Giang, the locality where the case happened, have been probed for distorting the case.
Lawyer Ngo Ngoc Thuy, former head of Law Faculty from Hanoi Law University, said that probing a judge of the Supreme People’s Procuracy is a rare move so far but totally in conformity with the law.
Probing Mr. Chiem shows the country’s efforts to boost strict legal enforcement amid rising number of wrongful-convicted cases, Mr. Thuy said, adding that the authorized agencies would probe more officials who involved in the wrong judgment.
Nguyen Thanh Chan, 52, was allowed to return home in November 2013 after served 10 years in prison because he was coerced into testifying falsely.
The case has caught public attention for exposing the weak and bureaucratic justice capacity of local judiciary organs. President Truong Tan Sang asked authorized agencies to exonerate the case and compensate Mr. Chan as well as to strictly punish individuals and organizations involved in the wrong conviction.
Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong said that people directly involved in the case had made “basic mistakes.”
The decade-long case reveals irresponsibility and insensibility of judicial officials. This is not a unique situation in the communist country as many other people are also victims of decade-long unjust cases.
Vietnam Top Diplomat Seeks to Pursue U.S. to Ease Ban of Lethal Weapon
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh is visiting the Washington on Oct 1-2 to discuss the U.S.’s removal of arm embargo imposed over the communist nation since 1985.
He will hold talks with Secretary of State John Kerry on the issue and it is expected the U.S. to partially ease its lethal weapon ban by the end of this year.
According to the official announcement of Hanoi, Minh and Kerry will discuss measures to implement the agreement of the two countries’ leaders on enhancing the comprehensive partnership.
However, it is likely that the two top diplomats will discuss on U.S.’s sale of weaponry to Vietnam. According to many sources, the U.S. intends to sell six patrol airplanes to help Vietnam enhance its surveillance and protection of its sovereignty in the East Sea.
Vietnam Needs to Conduct Political Reforms for Weapon Purchase
Ahead of the two-day visit of Vietnamese top diplomat Pham Binh Minh to the U.S., one American newspaper said there is possible the U.S. will sell its lethal weapons to Vietnam if Hanoi conducts political changes.
Chris Borse, security adviser of Senator John McCain, was quoted as saying by John Grady on his article posted on USNI on Oct 1, that Vietnam and the U.S. share the same direct interest in maritime security in the East Sea.
The U.S. Congress is ready to work with Obama’s administration to remove ban of lethal weapons imposed over Vietnam if Hanoi shows its institutional reform and refuses to use power abuse to suppress political dissidents and social activists, Mr. Borse said.
The U.S. has also asked Vietnam to reform its judicial system.
In his article, Grady also mentioned speech of Minister Minh delivered at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security on Oct 1, on which Minh said that the U.S. and Vietnam have great efforts to narrow differences.
Political Prisoner Dau Van Duong: I will Continue Voicing
Political prisoner Dau Van Duong, a young Catholic follower in Vinh diocese, completed his sentence and returned to his family on Oct 2.
He expressed his thankfulness for those people supporting his family during his imprisonment. He delighted to meet people with whom he shared ideas to protest wrongdoings of Vietnam’s government, saying the meetings gave him more belief and passion to voice against on-going wrongdoings by state officials.
He said he is very happy to be back with the family and friends.
During his imprisonment, prison’s authorities encouraged criminal inmates to beat him. Prison’s cadres have seriously violated human rights and religious belief of prisoners, Duong said.
In prison, he protested the prison’s authorities who forced him to share the same room with HIV-infected prisoners. He also protested insufficient supply of drinking water for prisoners as well as condemned prison’s officials taking money from prisoners.
Before being imprisoned, Duong conducted a number of charity activities in Life Protection group, including collecting aborted children and burying them, supporting women in difficulties, and condemning abortion.
He voiced to demand for freedom of expression, freedom of press and multi-party election.
He affirmed that he will continue these activities to fight against wrongdoings and support people victims of unjustice.
U.S., Vietnam Move toward Defense Strategic Partnership
Decades after the bloody war, Vietnam and the U.S. have moved toward defense strategic partnership, the Voice of America Radio said.
Almost all prestigious newspapers in the U.S. and other countries covered Washington’s decision on its partial removal of lethal weapon ban imposed over Vietnam one day after the State Department announced the move.
According to international media, the U.S.’s move aims to help Vietnam enhance its defense capacity to deal with China’s expansionism in the East Sea.
U.S.’s officials said the lift of arm embargo recognized Vietnam’s improvement of its human right situation, including the release of 11 political prisoners this year, and some improvement in religious freedom.
Former Legislator of Saigon Regime Released after 18-Year Imprisonment
Political prisoner Le Van Tinh, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail, was released from An Phuoc prison in Binh Duong province on Sept 27, two years before completing his sentence.
The parole was unexpected for himself as he refused to admit wrongdoing as well as asking for amnesty. However, the 75-year guy has to be under house arrest for the next five years.
Mr. Tinh’s health is not very good as he has symptoms of heart disease.
He did not know about the death of his friend Huynh Anh Tri who was also imprisoned in Xuan Loc prison in Dong Nai. He has no information on release of other political prisoners.
Mr. Nguyen Bac Truyen, a former political prisoner, informed Tinh that Mr. Nguyen Tuan Nam was released but staying in hospital due to very bad health. Mr. Tinh said he will go to Saigon for medical check and visit Mr. Nam.
Mr. Tinh spent total 28 years in communist prison in Vietnam. He was member of the parliament of the Vietnam Republic before 1975.
He was lecturer of Buddhist Hoa Hao in An Giang.
FB Nguyễn Bắc Truyển: Cựu dân biểu VNCH bị chế độ CS kết án 20 năm vừa ra tù
Summary: Nguyen Ngoc Anh
Translator: Vu Quoc Ngu