December 8, 2014
Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly- Dec 1-7: Two Blogger Hong Le Tho, Nguyen Quang Lap Arrested for Abusing Democracy
Defenders’ Weekly | Dec 07, 2014
Hong Le Tho, owner of “Nguoi lot gach” blog was arrested on Nov 29 by Ho Chi Minh City police to probe for abusing freedom and democracy to cause harm to state interest according to Article 258 of the Criminal Code.
One week later, on Dec 6, writer Nguyen Quang Lap, owner of Que Choa blog, was also detained for anti-state propaganda.
The People Court in the southern province of Long An suspended execution of death-convicted Ho Duy Hai, several days ahead of the planned implementation of the capital punishment.
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day [Dec 10], 24 civil societies issued a joint statement to condemn Vietnam’s government harassment against human rights activists.
And many other interesting news.
Joint Statement of Vietnamese Civil Societies on International Human Rights Day
THÔNG ĐIỆP XÃ HỘI DÂN SỰ VIỆT NAM NGÀY QUỐC TẾ NHÂN QUYỀN 10-12-2014
Amid intensifying crackdown of Vietnam’s security force against local human rights advocates and democracy activists, on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day [Dec 10], Vietnamese civil societies strongly voice to:
1/ Protest any acts violating human rights of the Vietnamese communist government, both in reality and legal aspects.
2/ Demand the communist government to amend the country’s Constitution and laws according to people’s will and in line with international standards on human rights.
3/ Request Vietnam’s authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience.
4/ Ask Vietnam’s government to stop using violence against human rights and religious activists as well as democracy advocates.
5/ Request Vietnam to respect basic human rights
Blogger “Nguoi lot gach” Arrested under Article 258
Mr. Hong Le Tho, owner of blog “Nguoi lot gach” was arrested by Ho Chi Minh City police on Nov 29 to probe for allegation of “abusing democracy to cause harm to state’s interest” under Article 258 of the Criminal Code.
Police accused Tho of posting online articles with bad content and distorted information to defame state leaders.
Tho is an operator of blog “Nguoi lot gach”- a news website posting news and writings of many authors similar to AnhBaSam of co-founder Nguyen Huu Vinh, who was arrested in May.
Mr. Dinh Kim Phuc, an East Sea researcher and a close colleague of Mr. Tho said he is very surprised of the arrest since Tho has contributed much to the country.
Tho and Phuc jointly wrote “Vietnam Sovereignty over Paracels and Spratlys” printed by the Vietnamese Association in Japan in 2010.
Mr. Phuc said he did not agree with the police’s reason for arresting Tho.
Statement of Vietnam Blogger Network on Arrest of Blogger Hong Le Tho
The arrest of blogger Hong Le Tho has triggered protest of many other bloggers nationwide. The Vietnam Blogger Network calls on blogger to:
– Strongly condemn house search and arrest of bloggers, considering these acts as the attacks against our right of freedom of expression and potential threat to each blogger, especially these who bravely express dissident points of view and criticize government’s wrong policies. Any blogger may become prisoner at any time, like Mr. Tho.
– To be united to fight for freedom of blogger Tho, do not accept the fate of prisoner waiting for being arrested.
– Closely coordinate each other and incite people to fight for freedom of all bloggers through large-scale media campaigns, seek international support, especially the UN Human Rights Council. Make all efforts to show Vietnamese people and the world that Article 258 is anti-Constitutional and Vietnam’s police are implementing a policy to prevent people from gaining information, and suppress freedom of expression.
– All Vietnamese bloggers strongly protest and fight against wrongdoings, injustice, anti-Constitution, arbitrary, distortive and disrespect of law.
One More Blogger Arrest, Accused of “Abusing Democratic Freedom”
Blogger Hong Le Tho was arrested on Nov 29 when he posted a number of articles criticizing the ruling communist party on his blog “Nguoi lot gach.” He is facing three-year imprisonment under Article 258 of the Criminal Code. He is accused of abusing democratic freedom which harms state’s interest and legal interest of citizens.”
Vietnam bloggers on Dec 10, 2013 established the Vietnam Bloggers Network to fight against Article 258 which has been used to silence dissent.
The Journalists Without Border has launched a campaign to protest Vietnam’s increasing crackdown against Vietnamese bloggers. It has also collected signatures for an online petition which calls for release of arrested bloggers.
Vatican Ambassador Meets Representatives of FVPoP
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Vatican’s non-resident representative in Vietnam met with Vo Thi Thu Thuy and Nguyen Trung Truc, representatives of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience during his visit to Con Se parish in the central province of Quang Binh.
During the meeting, former prisoners of conscience Thuy and Truc reported the current human right situation in Vietnam, especially police’s torture and suppression on freedom of religion and expression.
In turn, the archbishop pledged to report these issues to Vatican as well as raise them in his meetings with Vietnam’s authorities.
Vatican always encourages and promotes human rights in Vietnam and other countries.
Vietnam President Suspends Execution of Long An Province-based Convict after Mass Petition
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang has ordered authorities in the southern province of Long An to temporarily suspend the execution of one local resident after receiving petitions from many civil societies and numerous people, state media reported.
The president’s order came out on Dec 4, one day prior to the planned execution of Ho Duy Hai, who was accused of killing two female staffs in Nhi Thanh commune in Thu Thua district in 2008, and was sentenced to death despite the lack of strong evidence against him.
During the past seven years, Mr. Hai’s mother has sought justice for her son as she sent petition to many state agencies, asking for re-investigation into the case.
Sharing sympathy with Mr. Hai’s family, civil societies and many Vietnamese have voiced online, asking the president to suspend the sentence’s implementation for further investigation to avoid mistake of procuracy, police investigation and unfair trial.
In Vietnam, the single ruling communist party controls all executive, procuracy and court while police power abuse is rampant. The role of lawyers of defendants is also weak.
According to the state media, a number of people were wrongfully sentenced to death and heavy imprisonments in murder cases during the past decade.
Earlier this year, Nguyen Thanh Chan in the northern province of Bac Giang was released after ten years in prison on accusation of killing one local resident. He demanded a compensation of VND10 billion ($500,000) for the wrong sentence and police torture as the real murder confessed his sin in the case.
Political Prisoners Nguyen Dang Minh Man, Ho Thi Bich Khuong Hold Hunger Strike for 8th Day
Two political prisoners Nguyen Dang Minh Man, Ho Thi Bich Khuong have conducted hunger strike for the 8th day in Thanh Hoa province-based Prison No. 5 to protest the prison’s authorities’ decision to hold them in solitary cells.
In a telephone call with her family on Dec 5, Ms. Man said the duo will continue their fast until the prison authorities drop their punishment against them.
Man and her mother, Mrs. Dang Ngoc Minh were tried as the two were accused of conducting activities aiming to overthrow people’s government under Article 79 of the Criminal Code. The mother was sentenced to 3 years in jail and two-year house arrest. Her term ended on June 10.
Ms. Man was arrested in July 2011 and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment and 5 years under house arrest.
Vietnam Probes Prominent Writer Nguyen Quang Lap
The People’s Supreme Procuracy of Vietnam in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City has probed prominent writer Nguyen Quang Lap under Article 88 in the Penal Code, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said.
The 58-year-old writer, whose works are known domestically and overseas, would be detained for a three-month custody term and face a sentence of between three and 20 years in jail under the anti-state charge.
Mr. Lap was arrested on Dec 6 for running a blog named Que Choa containing articles “against the state” and protesting China’s aggression in the East Sea.
According to the BBC, the newest article posted on his blog was related to China and titled “Why should Vietnam be vigilant of the Confucian Institute?”
The arrest of Mr. Lap has caught public indignation and calls for immediate release from domestic and foreign intellectuals and organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists.
FVPoC Protests Article 258 Which Vietnam Uses to Silence Critics
The Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPoC) has strongly protested Vietnam’s intensifying crackdown against political dissidents and social activists in a bid to silence government’s critics.
There is possible Vietnam will use Article 258 of the Criminal Code to arrest other bloggers, the FVPoC said after Vietnam arrested two bloggers Nguyen Quang Lap and Hong Le Tho within a week.
It calls on Vietnamese people to condemn the Vietnamese move and demand for dropping the article which aims to silence outspoken activists.
Critics are peaceful means of people that the government needs to respect, the association said, adding maintaining and using Article 258 is a serious violation of the freedom of expression.