Vietnam Defenders’ Weekly – Dec 8-14: Vietnam Court Upholds Jail Sentences for Three Activists

Defenders-weekly-15

Defenders’ Weekly

15/12/2014

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On Dec 12, the People’s Court in Vietnam’s southern province of Dong Thap rejected appeals of Bui Thi Minh Hang, a well-known land rights advocate and anti-China activist, and upheld a three-year imprisonment for her for bogus traffic allegation. It also upheld the respective 30-month and 24-month imprisonments for Nguyen Van Minh and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, two other activists in the same case in which the trio was accused of causing public disorder under Article 245 of the Criminal Code.

Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh and her friends were detained after she took a picture with a slogan supporting human rights on the occasion of international day of human rights Dec 10.

As many as 136 activists joined a petition urging the communist government to release novelist- blogger Nguyen Quang Lap.

and other interesting news.

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*********8/12/2014********

Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience Calls for Support for Program “Laptops for Former Prisoners of Conscience”

The Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC) has issued a letter calling people to contribute to the Program “Laptops for Former Prisoners of Conscience” which aims to provide laptops for former prisoners of conscience to promote human rights and democracy.

  1. Internet and modern communication tools such as computer, mobile phones and social networks are powerful weapons against authoritarian governments which have tried to control information and halt freedom of press. These tools contributed much to recent democratic revolutions worldwide.
  2. In Vietnam, the communist government is feared that local people aware that the country’s modern history was distorted by the communists who monopolistically control the country. The government don’t want political dissidents and activists to use the Internet to promote human rights and democracy and connect each other.
  3. The Vietnamese communist government has tried to enhance its censorship and use controversial laws, especially Article 258 of the Criminal Code, to silence critics. Along with harassing social activists and arresting bloggers, it is using online paid supporters and security agents to spread wrong information in order to keep the country under one-party regime.
  4. Members of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC), with rich fighting experiences, have determined to continue peaceful fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights. Along with fighting spirit, all members need modern communication devices, particularly laptops or other devices to work for multi-party democracy in our country.

CTNLT: Hội CTNLTVN: Thư kêu gọi hỗ trợ “Chương trình laptop cho Cựu Tù nhân Lương tâm” 

***********9/12/2014*************

Vietnam Must Respect Its Commitments to Free Speech, Democracy

Vietnam,  as a signatory to international conventions, should respect its commitment to free speech and democracy, said Benjamin Ismail, head of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Asia-Pacific region at an interview to the Voice of America radio.

The communist government in Hanoi has to stop harassments and arrests of local bloggers if the country wants to show its sincerity after signing a number of international conventions regarding human rights, he noted.

“It has to stop these actions,” he said. “Ratifying these treaties will have no meaning and will show even more the daily violations against human rights that the authorities commit if they are not stopping this policy of repression.”

According to the advocacy groups for journalists and bloggers, Vietnam has taken at least six bloggers into police custody for the same law since 2013.

Within the two weeks, Vietnam arrested blogger Hong Le Tho and blogger Nguyen Quang Lap, who runs Que Choa blog, showing the communist government has intensified its political crackdown on political dissent, according to international media.

The Internet is the only tool for Vietnamese dissidents to express their opinions since the government controls state media, said AP on Dec 7.

The political crackdown has been intensified recently. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, aka Me Nam, one of co-founders of Vietnam Blogger Vietnam, was detained by police in Vinh Thanh commune in Nha Trang City on Dec 7, together with six others.

Recently, blogger Me Nam has been harassed, detained and confiscated her personal documents and items.

VOA: RSF phản ứng sau vụ bắt giữ Bọ Lập: VN cần tôn trọng công ước quốc tế

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Blogger Me Nam and Six Activists Detained When Hanging Banner Advocating Human Rights

Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, aka Me Nam, and six other activists were detained in a restaurant after they took a photo with a message supporting Human Rights in an activity in conjunction with the German Embassy, to mark International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10.

The banner wrote: I support human rights because without human rights freedom and democracy do not exist.

Speaking with the Voice of America radio, she said numerous policemen stumped into the restaurants and detained her group and took its item. All activists were freed at 4 pm.

VOA: Blogger Mẹ Nấm cùng sáu người khác bị công an Xã Vĩnh Thạnh tạm giữ 

*********10/12/2014**********

U.S. Urges Vietnam to Release Immediately Blogger Nguyen Quang Lap

The U.S. government is concerned about the recent arrests of blogger Nguyen Quang Lap and Hong Le Tho, said the the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi at a press release sent to the Voice of America radio.

According to Washington, such arrests have harmed Vietnam’s duties and commitments to human rights.

The release said Nguyen Quang Lap, an owner of Que Choa blog, was arrested in his private apartment in Ho Chi Minh City on Dec 6 for unclear accusation.

The arrest of Lap, who is a member of a number of state cultural organizations, was done one week after the detention of Hong Le Tho, an owner of Nguoi Lot Gach blog. Mr. Tho was detained for abusing democracy to cause harm for state interest according to Article 258 of the Criminal Code.

Dr. Jonathan London, a Vietnamese expert at City University of Hong Kong, said he expected the Vietnamese human rights to improve and he did not understand the recent moves of Hanoi.

Vietnam has arrested political dissident unreasonably, he said, adding he hopes that Hanoi will soon release Mr. Tho and Mr. Lap as well as other prisoners of conscience in order to meet expectation of people regarding human rights.

The Reporters Without Borders has urged Vietnam to release writer Lap unconditionally.

VOA: Mỹ kêu gọi VN thả blogger Nguyễn Quang Lập ‘ngay lập tức’

*************13/12/2014*************

Vietnam Court Upholds Jail Sentence to Well-known Anti-China Activist

On Dec 12, the People’s Court in Vietnam’s southern province of Dong Thap rejected appeals of Bui Thi Minh Hang, a well-known land rights advocate and anti-China activist, and upheld a three-year imprisonment for her for bogus traffic allegation.

It also upheld the respective 30-month and 24-month imprisonments for Nguyen Van Minh and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, two other activists in the same case in which the trio was accused of causing public disorder under Article 245 of the Criminal Code.

The case is politically motivated, aiming to suppress social activists who have voiced against corruption, economic mismanagement and weak response against the Chinese violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea, said the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam after the trial in August.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of the Human Rights Watch, said that the Vietnamese government is now resorting to bogus traffic offenses to criminally prosecute activists. Vietnam should recognize this case is not worth the international ridicule it will cause and drop the charges immediately, he noted.

He described Hang as a “thorn in the side of the Vietnamese government” and said he was not surprised the sentences were upheld.

Vietnam upheld the imprisonment sentences for the three activists after arresting two bloggers who were considered anti-state ones.

VOA: Việt Nam y án tù đối với bà Bùi Thị Minh Hằng

RFA: Tòa phúc thẩm y án bà Bùi Thị Minh Hằng

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Activist Bui Thi Minh Hang Protests Unfair Appeal Hearing

Activist Bui Thi Minh Hang strongly protested the appeal hearing in Dong Thap province on Dec 12, saying the hearing was unfair, said her defense lawyer to the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC).

She did not commit to make any wrong activities and her last words were “Down the unfair court of the communist government,” said the lawyer.

The appeal court upheld the imprisonment sentences for her and her two friends Nguyen Van Minh and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, who are also human rights activists. In August, the trial hearing gave them respective 36-month, 30-month and 24-mont imprisonments as the trio were found to be guilty of conducting social disorders under Article 245 of the Criminal Code.

The Human Rights Watch on its release on Dec 12 called the hearing a tactic of the Vietnamese government aiming to suppress human rights activists.

Quynh Anh, a daughter of Ms. Hang said her family will seek international support for her mother’s freedom.

BBC: Bà Bùi Hằng ‘đả đảo’ phiên tòa bất công 

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Vietnam Activists Demand Hanoi to Immediately Release Writer Nguyen Quang Lap

As many as 136 Vietnamese writers, readers and social activists have signed a petition sent to the communist government to demand immediate release of writer- blogger Nguyen Quang Lap, the owner of Que Choa blog.

His arrest has attracted attention of many people, including intellectuals,  readers, social activists and ordinary people.

FB Taovovan: TRẢ TỰ DO LẬP TỨC CHO NHÀ VĂN NGUYỄN QUANG LẬP! 

Summary: Nguyen Ngoc Anh

Translator: Vu Quoc Ngu