July 20, 2015
Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly July 13-19, 2015: What Does Vietnam Want? To Enhance Global Integration or to Put More Bloggers in Prison?
Defenders’ Weekly | Jul 19, 2015
At a meeting with Vietnamese Americans in Little Saigon in California, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius shared that during talks with Vietnamese senior officials, he asked “What Does Vietnam Want? To Enhance Global Integration or to Put More Bloggers in Prison?”
Despite warnings that the country’s stance on civil rights could harm its international standing in connection with a major trade pact, Vietnam’s security forces continue to attack dissidents, staging 31 physical attacks in 2014 and another 17 this year, according to a dissident group based in Hanoi.
On July 13, Vietnamese security force banned four human rights activists from taking international flights to Bangkok. Three of them are members of the unsanctioned Vietnamese Women for Human Rights.
Wearing a shirt with zoombie sign, one young in Saigon was arrested by security agents
Hanoi-based lawyer Tran Thu Nam proposed the establishment of a lawyers group to provide legal assistance for land petitioners.
And other news.
Vietnam Security Forces Ban Four Human Rights Activist from Going Abroad
Vietnam’s security forces on July 12 barred four local human rights activists from taking international flights to Thailand, where they were invited to participate in a meeting with the Reporters Without Borders (RWB or RSF).
Freelance journalist Vu Quoc Ngu, who has numerous articles to report human rights violations in Vietnam, Mrs. Huynh Thuc Vy, coordinator of the unsanctioned Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, bloggers Nguyen Thi Hoang and Tran Thi To are the victims of police illegal moves.
Security agents in Ho Chi Minh City even confiscated passports of Mrs. Vy and Miss Hoang.
Closer Vietnam-U.S. Relations Help Improve Hanoi’s Rights Record: Ted Osius
Improving Vietnam-the U.S. security cooperation against China and possible signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement are expected to advance Vietnamese human rights record, said the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.
The U.S. can help “bring about change” in the communist country as “The whole process has sped up in the last several years,” and “this year will be a very important one,” he said during his first visit to Little Saigon in California on Sunday [July 12].
He said that the U.S. can use diplomatic leverage on two key issues this year to pressure Vietnam to improve a record that, according to Human Rights Watch, “remains dire in all key areas.”
The first is the TPP agreement joined by 12 nations, including the U.S. and Vietnam, a trade agreement that has the potential to dramatically boost Vietnam’s economy and weaken China’s control over the region.
“If Vietnam wants to be part of TPP and benefit from TPP,” Osius said, “then Vietnam needs to meet those high standards (of freedom).”
Second, Vietnam wants to strengthen its military relationship with the U.S. to push back the Beijing government’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea.
Osius said during a town-hall meeting in front of 100-plus people, including Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana), Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Dana Rohrbacher (R-Huntington Beach).
“It is wise that he (Osius) is here because the best advice he can obtain is right here,” said Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The ambassador’s three-day stay to the largest community of Vietnamese people outside Vietnam show efforts to listen to voices of the community as Little Saigon is the largest Vietnamese community in the U.S. gathering those who fled their home country after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
Societies in Little Saigon in Organ County of California state have criticized the Vietnamese leadership for bad records of human rights and called on the country to improve it to ensure freedom of expression and religion.
Osius’s visit came less than a week after President Obama met with Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in the Oval Office. The meeting coincided with the 20th anniversary of America and Vietnam re-establishing diplomatic ties.
Violence Against Viet Protesters Extends to the Streets
Despite warnings that the country’s stance on civil rights could harm its international standing in connection with a major trade pact, Vietnam’s security forces continue to attack dissidents, staging 31 physical attacks in 2014 and another 17 this year, according to a dissident group based in Hanoi.
The latest occurred on May 19 – the birthday of the country’s liberator, Ho Chi Minh – when Human rights defender Dinh Quang Tuyen (aka Tuyen Xich Lo) was riding his bicycle for exercise when he was set upon by two masked men on a motorcycle who overtook him and punched him in the middle of his face, breaking his nose.
The group baring the extent of the attacks is Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, who do not stem from the dissident blogger community, who are more sophisticated and guarded, according to David Brown, a former US diplomat with long experience in Vietnam.
By and large, human rights groups say, foreign governments rarely look beyond the arrest and incarceration of dissidents. But another world of danger exists on the streets. Disguised as thugs to mask attacks by authorities, the Vietnam security police forces have used violence to intimidate and humiliate human rights defenders, the Former Prisoners of Conscience says, an approach that is “safe” for the government because the democratic countries’ concern on human rights in Vietnam do not go beyond recording dissidents’ arrests.
The number of victims is increasing, according to Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, which condemned the use of violence to harm dissidents. The organization accused individual policemen masquerading as thugs to assault human rights defenders, citing a long list of specific cases and displaying photographs of beaten and bloodied men and women over the past five months.
So far, there is little indication that Vietnam is willing to cede any liberalization. Human Rights Watch’s 2015 World Report said the human rights situation “remained critical in 2014,” with the Communist Party unwilling to give up one-party rule despite growing public discontent with basic freedoms. As the NGO has charged, Human Rights Watch said that “security forces increased various forms of harassment and intimidation of critics. “
“Police brutality, including deaths in police custody, are an increasing source of public concern in Vietnam,” Human Rights Watch said in its 2015 report. “In 2014, even the heavily controlled state media frequently published reports about police abuse. In many cases, those killed in police custody were being held for minor infractions. Police frequently engaged in cover-ups, including by alleging the detainee’s suicide. Many detainees said they were beaten to extract confessions, sometimes for crimes they say they did not commit. Others said they were beaten for criticizing police officers or trying to reason with them. Victims of beatings included children.”
Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, in a statement sent to Asia Sentinel, “strongly condemns and protests the use of violence to harm dissidents. It is more urgent as the number of victims is increasing. Individual security policeman masquerading as thug have executed orders to assault human rights defenders.”
“We call on all democratic governments and their diplomatic corps in Hanoi, the international human rights organizations to raise their voices to protect victims of physical attacks, the NGO said. “Demands for the Vietnam government to end violence should be placed as a pre-condition for signing economic or military agreements.”
One Young Individual Arrested in Saigon for Wearing Zoombie Shirt
In late evening of July 11, security in Saigon arrested a youth named Nguyen Thanh Phuoc, who weared T-shirt with zoombie drawing.
He was detained with his friends when they were taking pictures in the city’s center.
So far, no information of Phuoc is available while other his friends were freed.
Zombie campaign is the name of an anti-communist campaign among Vietnamese youths.
Two Suspects Probed for Committing Six-victim Massacre in Binh Phuoc Province, Activists Concerned about Detainees’ Rights
Police in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Phuoc on July 13 decided to probe two arrested suspects for robbery and murder of six people in one local family, state media reported Monday.
Accordingly, Nguyen Hai Duong, 24, from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, and Vu Van Tien, also 24, from the central provinceof Thanh Hoa, were charged of killing Mr. Le Van My, 48, director of Quoc Anh Co. Ltd which involves in woodwork in Chon Thanh district and his wife and four offspring.
The duo Duong and Tien will be held in custody for four months to serve investigations for the massacre case, the second in Vietnam within few weeks.
According to state media, Mr. My, one of giant traders in wood industry and five members of his family were brutally killed with knife during the night of July 7 in his residential areas in Chon Thanh district.
Other victims are My’s 42-year-old wife, his 20-year-old daughter, his 15-year-old son, an 18-year-old niece and a 14-year-old nephew.
Almost all properties of the victim family were untouched with exception of documentations for the family’s woodwork business, the police said.
Two days later, Binh Phuoc police, under direct supervising of Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang, arrested two suspects Duong and Tien. Duong was a former boyfriend of Mr. My’s daughter and has often visited the victim family.
At a press conference held in Chon Thanh district on July 11, Major General Ho Sy Tien from the Ministry of Public Security said he himself questioned Duong in two consecutive day-night and finally Duong admitted to commit the crime.
The two suspects have admitted that they killed the six victims with a fruit-baring knife. The motive of the murders is the family’s refusal to accept Duong as a son-in-law after long love affairs with one of the girls in the rich family.
Many Vietnamese applauded policemen for fast action to bring the murders to the light. However, human rights activists are still doubting, saying the true murders may not be Duong and Tien, given a number of facts that the police couldn’t explain.
Duong and Tien had not legal assistance during the non-stop interrogation in the two days after being arrested. On July 12, the police assigned three lawyers in Binh Phuoc to defend him.
The police said Tien, who had no relations with the victims, participated in the murder case because Duong promised to pay him a big sum. However, the murders just took a small sum of money from the house of the victim and they did not touch VND1.7 billion ($78,000) in one room.
Police investigators said Duong did not kill the 7th member of the family for compassion. However, in fact, the 18-month survivor, was brought by a babysitter to her home in the evening prior to the tragedy night.
On July 11, Duc Long Group, one of rivals of Mr. My in wood industry, informed that it will reward the investigating police with VND1 billion, a big sum given a basic salary is only VND3.1 million for the capital city of Hanoi.
The massacre in Binh Phuoc was the second in Vietnam within one weeks. On July 2, a four-member family in the central province of Nghe An was slain in its poor house in a remote area. The investigation is carried out without progress.
In the first sitting of Vietnam’s legislative body National Assembly, many legislators urged the country to amend the Criminal Procedure Law to enhance rights of detainees and arrested, particularly the rights to remain silent and immediate legal assistance provided by lawyers as well as video and audio recording during interrogations.
However, the Ministry of Public Security still objects to the amendments.
Legal miscarriages are rampant in the communist nation. Ten years ago, Nguyen Thanh Chan in the northern province of Bac Giang was sentenced to life imprisonment for accusation of killing a local resident. Last year, Chan was released and cleared after the real murder came to police to confess his sin. Chan was paid with a compensation of VND7.2 billion from state budget while police investigators who committed torture to force Chan to make false statements were disciplined.
Last year, a group of seven residents in Soc Trang province was also forced to admit to kill a local resident. They were released after two other people went to police to confess their murdering the victim.
Torture is still rampant in Vietnam although the country adopted the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment last year.
According to the government report, 226 detainees and arrested died in police stations and prisons in the past four years. Police said most of their deaths were caused by suicides and illness, however, their families believe that torture and bad treatment are main causes of their deaths./.
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Cao Dai Buddhist Followere Attacked by State-controlled Followers
Many followers of Cao Dai Buddhist sect in An Hoa commune, Trang Bang district in Tay Ninh province have been attacked by the state-controlled followers in a private house of Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa.
Ms. Thoa said she telephoned to the local authorities and police to report the attack, however, police has not come to prevent the attack.
The incident is among many cases on which followers of the state-controlled Cao Dai Buddhist brutally attack followers of unregistered sect.
Hanoi-based Lawyer Tran Thu Nam Proposes Establishment of Lawyers Group to Provide Free Legal Assistance for Land Petitioners
In order to help land petitioners to deal with illegal land seizure, Hanoi-based lawyer Tran Thu Nam has proposed the establishment of a lawyer group which will provide free legal assistance for farmers.
A number of lawyers, including Mai Phuong from Hanoi and Le Kim Soa from Nghe An said they would join the group.
Land disputes are rampant in Vietnam where all land belongs to the state while residents have only right to use it. The government and local authorities are empowered to take land from residents for social-economic development or just for industrial and urban projects witthout paying compensation at fair prices.
Australian Lawmaker Chris Hayes Asks to Raise Question about Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience on Human Rights Dialogue
On the occasion of the 12th Vietnam-Australia human rights dialogue scheduled in Canberra this year, Australian Parliament Member has sent a letter to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to ask her to raise human rights issues and prisoners of conscience in the event.
Currently, Vietnam is holding numerous prisoners of conscience, he said.
Mr. Hayes said proteciton and promotion of human rights is the most important thing.
Vietnam Calls for Public Opinions on Draft Amendments of Criminal Code, Still targeting dissidents
Vietnam’s communist government has called on local citizens and expats to contribute their opinions to the draft amendments of the Criminal Code prepared by the Justice Ministry, state media reported Thursday.
According to the decision signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnamese could send their ideas for amendments to the law in the next two months until September 15 and the Justice Ministry will be responsible for receiving the public feedbacks and completing the draft revised law before submitting to the National Assembly, the country’s highest legislative body, at the 10th plenary meeting slated to take place in October.
Under the amendments also prepared by the Ministry of Public Security, seven kinds of crimes will be removed from the capital punishment, including robbery, demolishment of works important for national security, activities against order at the higher levels, surrender to enemies, harming the peace and launching war, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Regarding corruption crime, the government intended to remove death sentence to this crime in the revised draft law but lawmakers and experts refused to remove it, saying that the removal will harm the country amid rampant corruption.
Regarding basic human rights, the controversial articles such as Articles 79, 88, 245 and 258 which have been used to silent local government critics and human rights activists, will remain the same or even be toughened amid rising public discontent.
In the draft amendments, they will be respective 106, 115, 316 and 330. While Articles 106, 115 and 330 are similar to Article 79, 88 and 258 of the current law, Articles 316 will be toughened in a bid to deal with rising dissatisfaction among farmers nationwide whose land is seized by local authorities for industrial and urban development.
Article 316 states that people committing public disorders can face up to three years imprisonment compared to two years currently and a fine of between VND10 million ($460) to VND100 million, ten folds higher than the current law sets. Vietnam has yet to introduce demonstration law to provide legal protection of peaceful protestors so all public gatherings may be considered public disturbance. In the past few years, the Vietnamese government has violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations and charged many protestors with social disorder allegation.
Many countries and international human rights organizations have urged Vietnam to drop controversial Articles 79, 88, 245 and 258 which criminalize peaceful activities of local political dissidents and social activists.
These articles are among those other countries recommended Vietnam to remove in the recent Universal Periodic Review last year.
Hundreds of pro-democracy campaigners and human rights activists as well as farmers who peacefully demand for market-based compensation for their land, have been imprisoned by Articles 79, 88, 245 and 258.
According to international human rights organizations, Vietnam is holding between 150 and 200 prisoners of conscience while Hanoi always denies, saying it imprisons only law violators.
Last year, Vietnam became a member of the UN Human Rights Council, however, the Southeast Asian nation has taken modest efforts to improve its human rights records which are very bad according to international human rights bodies.
Sacramento Cancels Meeting with Vietnamese Delegation
Authorities in Sacramento has informed that they cancelled a meeting with a Vietnamese delegation led by Ho Chi Minh City communist leader Le Thanh Hai.
The meeting was scheduled on July 14 for establishment of sister cities between HCMC and Sacramento.
The reason for cancelation is the poor human rights record in Vietnam.
Anti-China Activist Completes 14-month Imprisonment On Fabricated Charge
Anti-China activist Do Nam Trung, who is also a democracy campaigner, on July 15 completed his 14-month imprisonment due to the fabricated allegation of conducting activities “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens” under Article 258 of the Criminal Code.
On May 15 last year, the Hanoi-based student, together with his two friends namely Le Thi Phuong Anh and Pham Minh Vu from the unsanctioned Brotherhood of Democracy went from the capital city to the Vietnamese southern region in a bid to cover news about anti-China violent demonstrations of local residents and workers.
On the first day of arrival in Dong Nai province, the trio was detained by policemen, who beat them brutally. Initially, police accused the three activists of inciting anti-China riots in which angry workers attacked Chinese workers and destroyed China-invested factories in Dong Nai province’s industrial zones. However, due to lack of solid evidence, Vietnam’s investigation agency changed allegation.
On a close trial on Feb 12 this year, the People’s Court of the southern province of Dong Nai found the trio guilty and sentenced Vu to 18 months in jail, while Trung and Anh received respective 14 months and 12 months in prison.
Vu, a young pro-democracy activist, is still in prison while Mrs. Anh was released two month ago.
On Wednesday, Trung was welcomed by a number of activists who came to the Dong Nai province-based Xuan Loc prison to pick him up.
Trung said the trio was beaten by mobile policemen upon the detentions. He was greatly pressured by interrogating officers during the pre-trial period to admit those activities that he has not committed.
He was also not allowed to hire lawyers to protect him but to accept lawyers assigned by police.
The living conditions in the Xuan Loc prison are very tough, he said, adding the food was bad and prisoners have to buy additional food to meet nutritional requirements.
Trung was placed in a room with 14 criminal prisoners, he said. He was allowed to meet his family members under close eyes of security officers, he added.
In mid-May last year, tens of thousands of Vietnamese rallied on streets to protest the Chinese illegal placement of HYSY-981 in Vietnam’s central offshore. Some of these rallies turned into violent in which angry Vietnamese destroyed hundreds of China-invested factories and beat Chinese nationals. Many companies from Taiwan and South Korea were also attacked by mistake.
According to state media, some deaths from the two sides were recorded. Prodemocracy activists and human rights campaigners did not support the violent demonstrations, observers said.
After normalizing situations, Vietnam’s security forces arrested and brought to the courts numerous individuals committing demolishment . However, those who were organized the violent are likely still not caught.
Vietnam, the country most affected by the Chinese expansionism in the East Sea, only verbally protests the Chinese aggressive moves.
The communist government has suppressed and intimidated numerous anti-China activists, putting many of them in prison.
Workshop on Freedom of Assembly
A workshop on freedom of assembly was held in Hanoi on July 16 with participation of La Khanh Tung, law lecturer from Hanoi National University, Thang Van Phuc, former deputy minister of Internal Affairs, Dinh Tuan Minh, economist, Huy Duc, journal and blogger and representatives of NGO such as VUSTA, Oxfam, Red, and Care, and state-run media.
The workshop was about opinions to the draft law of organizations which will be submitted to the parliament in October.
Vietnam Police Investigate Driver Running Bulldozer over Farmer in Hai Duong
Police in Vietnam’s northern province of Hai Duong have launched an investigation into the driver who ran his bulldozer over a farmer on July 10 in a land dispute case in Cam Giang district.
Speaking to the Thanh Nien newspaper on July 13, Colonel Bui Nhu Luyen, head of Cam Giang district police, said that the investigating agency visited and questioned victim Le Thi Cham who is under medical treatment in the Hanoi-based Viet Duc Hospital for the injuries caused by the bulldozer a few days ago.
The district police are also investigating Nguyen Van Sinh, 42, who ran his bulldozer over Ms. Cham when he was hired to drive the vehicle to clear the disputed land. Currently, Sinh is under medical treatment for injuries as he was beaten by angry farmers after running over the female farmer, Colonel Luyen said.
The driver may face murder charge in the case, said legal experts.
The move came under pressure of local social network and some state-run newspapers. In early July 12, a video clip made by residents in Hoang Xa village, Cam Dien commune, Cam Giang district showed a woman was ran over a bulldozer. Witnesses said many farmers in the village stayed around the bulldozer to protest the land clearing operations of the Cam Dien Industrial Zone project. However, the driver continued to move and the incident happened.
According to social networks, other farmers then threw stone at the bulldozer and the driver stopped the vehicle. People took Ms. Cham out of the bulldozer’s track and brought her to hospital for urgent treatment of numerous injuries at her head and arms.
Many farmers thought she was dead, however, miracle happened and she still survived. After getting urgent treatment in the Hai Duong city’s Central Hospital, she was transferred to Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi. Her health is still critical, however.
Protesting farmers said before incident happened, a number of thugs also came around the bulldozer, insulted and threatened farmers.
On the same day, leaders of the People’s Committees as well as police of Hai Duong province and Cam Giang district rejected the news on the incident, saying it was fabricated. Chairman Vu Hong Khiem of Cam Giang district’s People’s Committee said there was a small incident in the Cam Dien IZ, however, the local authorities successfully convinced farmers to return home without causing any incident.
The Cam Dien IZ is bought by the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), a joint venture between Vietnam’s Becamex IDC and a group of Singaporean investors presented by Sembcorp Group.
The land clearing is conducted by Ninh Binh province-based Thanh Trung Construction & Trade Co. Ltd.
On July 10, Chairman Nguyen Manh Hien of Hai Duong province’s People’s Committee suspended land clearance, however, Thanh Trung Co. has still continued its works, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
By late 2008, over 90% of households whose land was taken for the project received compensation. As many as 56 households disagreed with the compensation prices and demand for higher prices.
So far, two foreign companies have committed to invest in Cam Dien VSIP, according to the Hai Duong provincial Industrial Zone Management Board.
Land grabbing is a problematic and systematic issue in Vietnam where all land belongs to the state and residents have only right to use it.
Under the country’s law, the government and authorities in localities have rights to take land from residents for defense and security or social-economic development projects. Many Vietnamese across the country have been forced to give their land at cheap prices for urban and industrial projects.
Vietnam Police Shortly Detain Activist Returning from Thailand, Confiscating Her Laptop
Security forces in the Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport on Thursday [July 16] detained a local activist who returned home from Thailand for several hours for questioning, still holding her laptop.
Ms. Mai Thanh, who is a member of the unsanctioned Brotherhood of Democracy, was held by security officers when she arrived in Hanoi from an international flight from Bangkok.
During the five-hour detention, security officers asked Ms. Thanh numerous questions about the purposes of her trip to Bangkok as well as with whom she met. The activist remained silent, saying the trip was her personal matter and cannot share with others.
Finally, police took her laptop despite strong protest from the female pro-democracy activist.
On Sunday [July 12], Vietnam’s security forces barred a number of local activists from taking international flights. Among those were Mrs. Huynh Thuc Vy, the coordinator of the unregistered Vietnamese Women for Human Rights and Mr. Vu Quoc Ngu, a human rights activist well-known with numerous articles reporting human rights violations in Vietnam.
The police in the Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport even confiscated Mrs. Vy’s passport.
Along with imprisoning and harassing political dissidents and human rights advocates, Vietnam’s security forces have often blocked activists from meeting with foreign diplomats and going abroad to attend international workshops.
According to local network, hundreds of Vietnamese activists have been blocked from going abroad or their passports have been confiscated by police forces who say activists’ foreign trips will harm the country’s security.
A number of activists have been shortly detained and interrogated by Vietnamese security forces after returning from abroad.
Increasing Vietnamese Police Harassment against Civilians, One More Death in Police Station
Rising police harassments have been recorded in many places in Vietnam, with one more death occurring in a police station in Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest economic hub in theSoutheast Asia communist nation.
Mrs. N. T. H. L., the wife of Mr. H.A.V. on July 16 dialed to her husband’s cell phone and a man told her to go to Cho Ray Hospital immediately. Arriving in the hospital, she was informed that her husband died already.
Police told that her husband, Mr. V., born in 1981, went to the police headquarter in District 11, and jumped down from the third floor. The police said they are investigating the case.
Mr. V. has become the 6th person found dead in police stations so far this year.
Mrs. Nguyen Hong Luong in Dien Bien ward, Ba Dinh district in the capital city, Phan Duc Dat, 32, from Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, Nguyen Duc Duan, 33, from Khoai Chau district, Hung Yen province, and Do Van Binh, 18, in the central province of Quang Nam died in local police stations earlier this year. In Mrs. Luong case, police said she self burned in a toilet of the ward police building while in other cases, the victims were held in detention cells. Severe injuries were found in victims’ bodies.
In addition, a number of victims had been hospitalized in critical health conditions after being tortured by police officers, state media reported.
After being released from the Binh Kieu commune’s police office in Khoai Chau district in the northern province of Hung Yen on June 15 this year, Phan Van Doi felt dizzy, state media reported, adding that his face was deformed with numerous injuries.
Earlier on the same day, Mr. Doi was invited by the communal police to their office to work. At 2.00 PM, he came to the police office, thinking that they will settle disputes between his family and the neighbor. Then two plainclothes men appeared, brought him to a closed room and forced him to report the disputes. They confiscated his cell phone and beat him brutally. Along with kicks and hits, they also used electrical baton to attack him
Pham Khac Chu, 44, from the neighbor province of Hai Duong, fell unconscious since June 6, one day after being detained by Thanh Ha district police and held in the district’s police detention facility. Mr. Chu, who was healthy at the moment of being arrested for allegedly stealing a smart phone according to Thanh Hai communal police Chief Nguyen Van Van, had been under special medical treatment in the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital. His health conditions were reportedly very bad and he was unlikely to recover, medical staff in the hospital said.
In the most recent case in Thuy Nguyen district in the northern city port of Haiphong on July 16, a group of seven-eight plainclothes individuals who selves declared policemen from the district, brutally attacked residents in An Son commune when villagers tried to block stone exploitation of Phuc Son Cement Production Co. Many houses and facilities in An Son have been broken due to the company’s works.
Among the beaten is Mrs. Nguyen Thi Huong, 33, who is in the 8th month of pregnancy. The self-claimed policemen kicked and hit her until other residents told them loudly that she is pregnant, according to Tuoi Tre newspaper. The medical test made later on the same day showed that Mrs. Huong had bleeding and may face birth miscarriage.
Nguyen Huy Hoang, vice chairman of the Thuy Nguyen district’s People Committee said the local authorities had ordered the district police to send officers to settle disputes between residents in An Son commune and Phuc Son Co. while the company claimed that it did not hire thugs to attack protesting residents but reported the case to the district police.
Torture is a systemic problem in the communist-ruled Vietnam, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch while the Ministry of Public Security reported 226 deaths of detainees in police stations between October 2011 and September 2014.
The police said most of the deaths were caused by illness and suicides, however, families of many victims said they died from police torture.
Many deaths were recorded in communal police stations, triggering concerns among public. Many members of the Vietnamese legislative body National Assembly have voiced about the death of detainees, urging the Ministry of Public Security to take measures to halt the problem.
Advocating better respect of human rights for the arrested and detainees, many legislators, including Vice Chairwoman Le Thi Nga of the parliament’s Legal Committee, proposed granting the right to remain silent and the right to have lawyer during interrogation as well as video and audio recording during police’s questioning to prevent torture.
Many lawmakers suggested transferring the prisons and detention facilities, currently managed by the Ministry of Public Security to the Ministry of Justice.
In the communist-ruled Vietnam, the police have been granted endless power. Few police officers have been disciplined for human rights violations.
Vietnamese PM amond Leaders Who Publicly Threaten Journalists
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung are one of heads of state and governments who publicly refer to journalists in a contemptuous, insulting, defamatory or racist manner, violating the principle of freedom of information and drawing attention to the terrible pressure to which media personnel are often subjected just for doing their job, according to the Reporters Without Borders.
Dung’s policy with journalists is to brand them as malevolent enemies and to dismiss revelations about communist party corruption as “despicable stratagems by hostile forces.” When Dung threatens outspoken bloggers with “severe punishments,” the deterrent effect is guaranteed because no fewer than 27 citizen-journalists and bloggers are currently detained in Vietnam. In 2012 alone, the Vietnamese authorities prosecuted no fewer than 48 bloggers and human rights defenders, sentencing them to a total of 166 years in prison and 63 years of probation.
HCMC Police Suspend Summoning Dr. Pham Chi Dung
Police in Ho Chi Minh City on July 16 summoned Dr. Pham Chi Dung, president of the unregistered Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN).
During the working meeting, police officers did not request him to suspend activities of the association as they did in previous meetings.
However, they asked Dr. Dung to soften his government criticism.