Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly August 24-30: Six Activists Brutally Beaten by Undercovered Police in Lam Dong after Visiting Fresh-released Political Prisoner

Defenders’ Weekly | Aug 30, 2015

Defenders-weekly

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In the morning of August 28, many activists were severely attacked by undercovered policemen in Lam Ha district in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong when they travelled by buses from a private house of Tran Minh Nhat, a political prisoner who completed his four-year imprisonment one day earlier. Six activists were with many injuries on their faces, heads and bodies as the results of policemen and thugs.

On August 19, Luong Tam TV (Conscience TV) debuted with the first edition which covered a number of issues in Vietnam. It spoke out ongoing harassment, corruption and bad management of the communist government.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, a young activist in Hanoi informed that he was summoned by local police after he stayed in the front of the building of the Ministry of Education and Training hanging a banner “Students are not lab mices” to protest the ministry’s recent policies.

Activist Nguyen Duc Giang was kidnapped on August 25 when he went to the private house of Mai Xuan Dung to support the latter activist whose residence was attacked by thugs.

And many other important news.

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*************24/8/2015************

Buddhist Youth Movement Leader Barred from Meeting with German Legislator

On August 23, authorities in the central city of Hue asked Le Cong Cau, head of the Buddhist Youth Movement and Secretary-general of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) not to go to Ho Chi Minh City where he was invited by Germany’s General Consulate to take a lunch with visiting Volker Kauder, parliamentary group leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) of the German Parliament.

The lunch was slated in  Park Hyatt on August 25.

This is the third time Mr. Cau was barred from meeting with foreign delegations in 2015.

PTTPGQT: Tổng Thư ký Viện Hoá Đạo, Cư sĩ Lê Công Cầu, bị công an Huế ngăn chận không cho đi Saigon gặp Nghị sĩ Quốc hội Cộng hoà Liên bang Đức

*************25/08/2015***********

Recently Freed Vietnamese Blogger Re-Launches Website, Dismisses “Quiet Life”

Truong Duy Nhat, a prominent blogger and rights campaigner in Vietnam who served two years in prison for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state” has re-launched his website and vowed to continue his scrutiny of the country’s one-party communist government.

Nhat, 51, was arrested in May 2013 and sentenced in March the following year under Article 258 of Vietnam’s penal code, a clause which rights groups say is deliberately vague and used to prosecute critics of the country’s leadership.

On Monday, Nhat, who was released in May this year, told RFA that he had re-launched his blog “Mot Cach Nhin Khac” (“Another Viewpoint”), saying he refused to be intimidated by the threat of prison.

“Firstly, I would like to say that I am a journalist, a writer, so I cannot stay away from what is happening in this society,” he said.

“I am not going to choose a quiet life just because I have been in prison.”

Nhat cited victims of land grabs who had continued their campaigning “the day after they were released from prison” as a source of inspiration for him.

“Those farmers are one of main reasons that motivated me to reopen the blog,” he said.

Nhat has maintained the name of his blog, but switched hosts for the website to a server based outside of Vietnam, as part of a bid to make it “more worldly, stable and easy to maintain.”

A former writer for state-owned newspapers, including Dai Doan Ket and Cong An Quang Nam, Nhat abandoned mainstream media to begin writing “Another Viewpoint” in 2011.

The blog, which became widely known for its criticism of the government, was one of the most popular blogs in Vietnam before it was taken off the Internet after police arrested Nhat in 2013.

Police had searched his home in Danang city on the south central coast of Vietnam as part of a crackdown by authorities on online dissent.

Authorities accused Nhat of posting articles that “were not true [and] defamed leaders of the party and state,” according to his indictment.

They took him into custody for posting articles on his blog calling for the resignations of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Nhat also had conducted an online opinion poll ahead of a first-ever confidence vote on senior officials that the country’s parliament held at a session in June 2013.

On March 4, 2014, Nhat received a two-year jail sentence, prompting outrage from rights groups and an expression of “deep concern” from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, which called on Vietnam to release Nhat and “allow all Vietnamese to peacefully express their political views.”

Overseas rights groups condemned the ruling as part of a relentless drive to squelch online dissent, with global press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders saying it was “outraged” by the conviction.

Vietnam has jailed dozens of bloggers and rights advocates in recent years over their online posts, with rights groups accusing the government of using vague national security provisions against them to silence dissent.

According to New York-based Human Rights Watch, approximately 150 to 200 activists and bloggers are serving prison time in Vietnam simply for exercising their basic rights.

RFA: Trương Duy Nhất mở lại trang blog ‘Một Góc Nhìn Khác’

**************26/8/2015***********

Vietnam Should Release Detainees Instantly if Lacking Evidence to Prove Guilty

Vietnam should release detainees immediately if lack of evidence to prove guilty during investigation and trials, said Dinh Xuan Thao, head of the Institute of Legislative Studies (ILS) under the country’s legislative body National Assembly (NA).

Dr. Thao made this proposal during a debate on the full-time legislators on the draft law of Criminal Procedure Code held in Hanoi on Aug. 26.

Earlier this month, Le Thu Ba, deputy head of the NA Steering Committee on Legal Reform said in many cases, the investigation agencies failed to prove allegation against suspects but they fabricated some accusations or sought to legalize the detention period instead of freeing them. The situation must be ended, she said.

Agreeing with the proposal of Dr. Thao, An Giang province-based Legislator Tran Van Do said Vietnam must ensure the right to equality before the law and courts as well as the right to a fair hearing, including the equality of arms.

During the investigation, the rights of accused individuals to confront the witnesses against them, Mr. Do noted.

NA’s Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu said the presumption of innocence must be prioritized to halt miscarriages of justice.

Legislators also requested investigation agencies to record video and audio during interrogation in order to prevent torture, ill-treatment or coercion.

Regarding the right to remain silent, most of legislators demanded it to be included into the draft law while Legislator Do Van Duong from Ho Chi Minh City disagreed, saying it will create trouble for police investigators.

The draft bill, prepared by the Ministry of Justice, will be submitted to the communist-controlled parliament for approval in October.

Lao dong: “Không đủ chứng cứ buộc tội người ta thì phải trả tự do ngay”

 ==================

 Former Vietnam Prisoner- Activist Attacked after Meeting with Prison Authorities

A Vietnamese activist was assaulted by thugs on August 24 shortly after a meeting with authorities of a prison where he was held one year ago.

Mr. Truong Minh Tam, who was serving his one-year prison term in Prison No. 5 in Yen Dinh district in the central province of Thanh Hoa, said that he was beaten by two young motorbike riders at a place about one kilometer from the prison.

He believed that the thugs were hired by the prison’s authorities, particularly by Colonel Luong Van Tuyen, head of the prison. The thugs stopped his scooter and beat him, took all his items including documentation, electronic devices such as smartphone and camera, and threw them into a river, and ran away.

Mr. Tam, who received light injuries from the assault, said that the attackers strived to destroy his items which contain important evidences for his illegal trial and the prison’s inhumane treatment against him.

Earlier on the day, the Hanoi-based social activist went to the prison and demanded the authorities to give back all documentation related to his trial and his serving in the prison. When he completed his term on Oct. 7 last year, the prison’s authorities refused to hand over these documentations to him on the day of being freed.

Tam, who had financial disputes with his business partners, was arrested on October 7, 2013. His arrest and trial were politically motivated due to his social activities which aim to promote multi-party democracy and human rights in the communist nation.

During his stay in Prison No. 5, he was under inhumane treatment of the officers and guards. They put him in solitary cell many times without reasons, Tam said.

Nearly one year after being released, Tam came back to the prison to take his dossier which can be used to challenge the validity of his trial as well as the bad treatment of the prison against him and other political prisoners.

However, the prison’s authorities have tried not to return these documentations, seeking to hand over them to him after two years and make his challenges impossible, according to Vietnam’s law.

Mr. Tam, who is a member of the unsanctioned pro-democracy Vietnam Pathway, like many other Vietnamese prisoners of conscience, was tried by courts which violated fair trial standards. Prisoners, especially those who have been convicted for exercising their rights of freedom of expression, have been treated like animals with bad-quality food, a lack of hygiene and proper medical treatment, and tiny rooms without windows.

“Vietnamese prisoners of conscience are treated like animals. Their food is tainted. They’re put into a 2-4 meter square cell with another criminal prisoners, who serve as a special surveying camera assigned by communist party leaders. Prisoners of conscience are not allowed access newspapers, books, TV or any other media. They are not allowed to receive letters or they have really limited access to letters,” Tam said in an interview to the Free Asia radio on June 15.

In June, Mr. Tam was invited to the U.S., where he participated in a hearing before the U.S.’s Congress. Together with Pastor Nguyen Manh Hung and Nguyen Van Loi, he presented the current hard conditions in Vietnam’s prisons and inhumane treatment of prisons’ authorities against prisoners of conscience before the U.S. Congress.

The trio also reported a number of evidences on on-going harassments, intimidations as well as persecutions of the communist government against local political dissidents and human rights activists.

They called on the U.S. Congress to pressure Vietnam, demanding the communist government to stop their persecutions and release all prisoners of conscience, who have suffered from inhumane treatments by prisons’ authorities.

SBTN: Anh Trương Minh Tam bị công an đánh đập và huỷ hoại tài sản?

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Thugs Destroy Private House of Hanoi-based Members of Charity Group Cuu Lay Dan Oan

On August 25, a group of five thugs attacked the private house of Mr. Mai Dung, one of members of charity group named Cuu Lay Doan Doan (Rescue Victims of Miscarriage of Justice) in Hanoi.

The thugs couldn’t go inside the house so they demolished decorative plants outside before withdrew.

About two dozens of neighbors and local activists came to support Dung’s family. The thugs came back and threatened people.

Nguyen Duc Giang, one of activists, was kidnapped when he went from Dung’s house to a local shop to buy drinking water. His situation is still unknown.

Local police came to make a report about the incident.

Dung and his daughter Mai Phuong Thao are active members of the charity group. They have also participated in anti-China protests and a campaign which protests Hanoi’s plan to massively chop down aged trees in main streets in the capital city.

Danluan: Côn đồ đập phá nhà của thành viên nhóm Cứu lấy dân oan

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Letter of Ven. Thich Khong Tanh to U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom

To: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Our Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists is a Buddhist organization established in 1964 in South Vietnam. After the collapse of the Vietnam Republic in 1975, the communist government has strived to impose political control over all Buddhist organizations nationwide, and in 1981, it set up the Delegation of Vietnamese Buddhists, making the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists illegal. The government have continuously been harassing our organization.

Since 1975, the structure of the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists has been forced to scale down, and only executive offices remain in ten localities namely Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Danang, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Lam Dong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Tien Giang provinces. By 2013, only 10% of the delegation’s facilities remain under the management of the delegation while the remaining 90% were taken by the government and given to the state-controlled Buddhist delegation.

The Lien Tri Pagoda in Thu Thiem, District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City belongs to the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists. The pagoda leadership has been under great pressure of the local authorities which strive to seize the land on which the pagoda is located. We think the move is aimed at demolishing the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists and suppress unregistered civil society organizations as the pagoda is the place where representatives of these organizations have gathered monthly in the past three years, and it is the location for granting presents for war invalids of the Saigon regime’s army in the past decades.

The Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists is facing a number of obstacles created by the Vietnamese communist government:

-The freedom of residence and movement of monks has been restricted or violated

Every year, monks gather three months in the summer in big pagodas. All monks who want to gather in pagodas of Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists have met difficulties in obtaining temporary registration, and forced to move to state-controlled pagodas. The movement of monks of the delegation from one pagoda to another has been limited, and some have even been barred from studying abroad. Local authorities have refused to register monks who want to serve in pagodas belonging to the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists.

– Only state-controlled pagodas are given permission for restoration and building of religious facilities while the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists are not allowed to conduct such activities for the pagodas under its management. Local authorities will demolish pagodas of the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists if monks try to restore them or build new facilities.

– State authorities have banned the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists from printing documentation, opening training courses, organizing meetings of followers and delivering Buddhist lectures.

– Local authorities require the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists to ask for permissions for regular activities such as praying and worship, and limit the number of participants.

– Security forces have maintained close surveillance of monks and followers of the delegation, threatened them and barred them from gathering to discuss the delegation’s activities. Monks and followers have been forced to carry out online meetings.

– Local authorities have used security agents and thugs to torture and threaten followers of the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists, forcing them to move to state-controlled facilities.

– Authorities have tried to halt charity activities of the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists, even forcing the delegation to give presents to those approved by the local authorities but not to those who are in need.

Recently, the Vietnamese government has introduced a draft law on beliefs and religions which will force all religious organizations to register for their establishment, merging, separation, and unification (Article 19-20), the setting up of religious training facilities (Article 21-25), the organizing of religious conferences and congresses (Article 32) and opening of religious training courses (Article 27.) The draft law also empowers local authorities to approve personnel affairs of religious facilities and religious training facilities (Article 24), forcing people who want to become religious staff to register (Article 43) and allowing government interference in religious training programs (Article 26) and in the promotion, appointment and transferring of managing religious clerks.

Clearly, the Vietnamese communist government has no desire to loosen its control over independent religious sects. We hope that you will continue to observe violations of religious freedom in Vietnam in general and the harassments against the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists in particular.

Regards

Venerable Thich Khong Tanh

Chief Monk of Lien Tri Pagoda

Deputy Head of the the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists’ Management Council

Representative of Buddhists in the Vietnam Inter-religious Council

Thich Khong Tanh: Thich Khong Tanh’s letter to The US commission for International Religious Freedom

**************27/8/2015***************

Hanoi Young Activist Summoned by Police after Protesting Education Ministry

Nguyen Thien Nhan, a young activist in Hanoi informed that he was summoned by local police on August 26 after he posted a picture in which he stayed in the front of the building of the Ministry of Education and Training hanging a banner “Students are not lab mouses” to protest the ministry’s recent policies.

Nhan expressed his concerns about a number of policies of the Ministry of Education and Training on universities’ enrolment’s methods and school textbooks.

He said the new method of universities’ enrolment applied by the ministry this year has caused headaches for universities’ candidates. His opinions met wide support from many other people.

Nhan said police interrogated him about the picture and contents of his facebook page.

VOA: Phải ‘làm việc’ với công an vì phản đối Bộ Giáo dục Việt Nam?

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Unsanctioned Luong Tam TV (Conscience TV) Produces First Program

On August 19, Luong Tam TV (Conscience TV) debuted with the first edition which covered a number of issues in Vietnam.

In its first ten-minute program, it spoke out ongoing harassment, corruption and bad management of the communist government.

The channel is a joint product of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience and Brotherhood of Democracy, two unregistered organizations in Vietnam.

Luong Tam TV, the first TV channel run by Vietnamese activists, will be one of a number of independent media to promote multi-party democracy and human rights in Vietnam where the communist party and its government control all printed newspapers, online websites, television channels and radios.

RFA: Chúc mừng kênh truyền hình LƯƠNG TÂM TV phát chương trình đầu tiên

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfan581vUqY

*************28/8/2015****************

 Catholic Youth Activists Released After 4-Year Sentences in Vietnam

Two Catholic youth activists released from prison this week after serving four years on charges of attempting to overthrow Vietnam’s communist government.

Tran Minh Nhat was arrested on August 27, 2011 and sentenced 4 years in jail and 3 years probation. Thai Van Dung was arrested on August 19, 2011 and sentenced 4 years in jail and 4 years probation.

They were convicted of trying to “overthrow the government’ under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code and for their alleged affiliation with banned opposition party Viet Tan.

After being arrested, they were under constant pressure to sign a confession to get a shorter sentence, but refused to do so, Nhat told RFA.

“I am not guilty and nobody can force me to sign a confession,” Tran Minh Nhat told RFA after he arrived home from Gia Trung Camp on Thursday.

Tran said he was asked to sign a “commitment not to re-offend, but I tore it up.”

Because he believed he was innocent “that document does not have value to me,” he added.

Thai Van Dung, who released on August 19, relayed a similar experience to RFA.

“They gave us the confession saying they can reduce my sentence to 3 months, 6 months if I agree to sign. But I noted in there that I refused to admit the charge,” he said.

As political prisoners, Nhat and Dung always had to fight for their limited rights and they also had to conduct hunger strikes to get their way, they said.

“In many detention camps that I have been in, there is some kind of mechanism that especially discriminates against some prisoners,” said Tran.

“The authorities do not respect or uphold the rules. We asked for nothing much — only that humans should be respected and human rights be guaranteed. But, they ignored our needs,” he said, describing what led to the decision to go on hunger strikes.

“And of course, after a hunger strike, some things improved, but it was just a formality,” Nhat said.

Dung said his longest hunger strike was 12 days, beginning last Jan. 1, to try to win the right read religious books in Thanh Hoa Camp.

“What I have been through is a priceless experience,” Nhat said.

“In prison, I could see we will never have civilization or progress in a society if that society is not based on the equality, justice and love between people,” he said.

Dung told RFA he will continue working with civil society organizations, fighting for people’s rights. He also said he knows he could be arrested again, and is prepared for that.

Vietnam’s constitution guarantees freedom of belief and religion, but religious activity is closely monitored and remains under state control.

With six million members, Catholicism is the country’s second-largest religion after Buddhism, but tensions between the community and the Hanoi government have led to unrest over church property and other issues.

SBTN: Niềm vui vỡ oà khi tù nhân lương tâm Trần Minh Nhật được tự do

=====================

USCIRF Inspects Freedom of Religions in Vietnam

A delegation of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom arrived in Ho Chi Minh City and met with representatives of unsanctioned Cao Dai Buddhist sect on August 25 to investigate freedom of religions and beliefs in Vietnam.

The delegation will submit a report on Vietnam’s freedom of religions and beliefs to the U.S. Congress which has power to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact.

Unsanctioned Cao Dai Buddhist sect is among religions under tough persecution of the communist government.

SBTN: Ủy ban tự do tôn giáo Hoa Kỳ nghe trực tiếp về ‘bước lùi’ tự do tôn giáo ở VN

*****************29/8/2015*******************

Vietnam Activists Brutally Beaten by Policemen, Thugs after Visiting Fresh-released Political Prisoner

Many Vietnamese activists were  brutally attacked by policemen and thugs in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on August 28 after they visited a fresh-released political prisoner.

Among assaulted activists are Ms. Tran Thi Nga, a member of the unsanctioned Vietnam Women for Human Rights, Mr. Truong Minh Tam, a member of the unregistered Vietnam Pathway, Mr. Chu Manh Son, a former political prisoner, Mr. Le Dinh Luong, younger uncle of human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan, and a young couple who want to remain unnamed.

The attacks happened in Duc Trong district, about 30 kilometers from Da Don commune, Lam Ha district where resides Tran Minh Nhat, a former political prisoner who completed his four-year imprisonment on August 27.

Under-covered policemen and thugs stopped two buses on which activists traveled from Mr. Nhat’s private house, one to Saigon and the another to Da Lat city.

On the first bus heading to Saigon, the thugs assaulted Mr. Luong (facebook account Lỗ Ngọc) and the young couple. The attackers caused serious injuries on faces, heads and bodies of the three activists.

A group of eleven activists traveled on the second bus which headed to Da Lat city. Policemen and thugs forcibly stopped the bus and attacked three activists Tam, Nga and Son. Ms. Nga, and broke an Ipad and  a smartphone of Son.

Son, Tam and Luong were severely beaten, with many injuries and bleeding on their faces and heads.

The activists came from different regions to visit Nhat who completed his four-year sentence one day earlier.

Ms. Nga said some attackers were with police uniforms. One local resident recognized that some attackers are local policemen and he asked loudly “Why Duc Trong police beat people?.” The attackers stopped beating and immediately left the scene, Nga said.

After receiving urgent assistance, some victims went back to Nhat’s house to seek for shelter while other continued to travel.

In Da Lat city, Nga and other activists reported the incident to the provincial Police Department which pledged to look into the case later.

This is the second attack against Mr. Tam this week. Tam, who was politically sentenced to one year in prison in a civil case two years ago, was attacked on August 24 after he met with authorities of Prison No. 5 in the central province of Thanh Hoa where he was held. The attackers, whom Mr. Tam believed the prison’s authorities hired, beat him and threw all his cell phones and camera as well as the documentation which can be used for challenging the validity of his arrest and trials as well as the inhumane treatment of the prison into a river at a place about one kilometer from the prison.

For  Ms. Nga, a Ha Nam province-based land and labor activist, the assault was among numerous attacks against her in the past few years. Last year, thugs broke her legs when she visited other activists in Hanoi.

Vietnam’s government has intensified its political crackdown against local dissidents and human rights activists recently, however, it has implemented new tactics to deal with growing social dissatisfaction. Instead of arresting government critics, the move can be condemned internationally, local security forces have been deploying thugs to beat activists.

Dozens of Vietnamese activists have been brutally assaulted by government-supported thugs during the past few years, and the victims included Nguyen Chi Tuyen, Truong Van Dung, Trinh Tuan Anh, Nguyen Hoang Vi, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and JB Nguyen Huu Vinh. The authorities have pledged to conduct investigation in these cases, however, no progress has been reported.

On June 25, police and militia in the central province of Nghe An also brutally attacked a group of about 50 relatives and activists coming to a local prison to pick up Mr. Trinh Ba Khiem, a prisoner of conscience released one month before his term ends. In early morning , when relatives and activists came near the prison’s gate, the prison’s authorities sent policemen and called on local militia to block the group and later attack them.

Two sons of Mr. Khiem, Trinh Ba Phuong and Trinh Ba Tu and several activists, including female blogger Mai Thanh,  were severely assaulted, with numerous injuries in their faces and bodies. Policemen also confiscated their cell phones and broke a number of cameras.

Vietnam has pledged to improve its human rights records in a bid to be being allowed to join the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership which is led by the U.S. On the occasion of the country’s National Day [September 02], the communist government decided to grant amnesty for over 18,300 prisoners, only one of them is sentenced due to a charge related to the country’s security and no prisoners of conscience are included.

Back to fresh-released Nhat, who was sentenced to four years in jail and three years under house arrest. He, together with 16 other young Catholic followers, was arrested in 2011 and convicted of trying to “overthrow the people’s government’ under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code and for their alleged affiliation with the U.S.-based opposition Viet Tan party.

Mr. Nhat, born in 1988, vowed to continue his activism to fight for multi-party democracy and better human rights in Vietnam.

Thai Van Dung, one of Nhat’s fellows, was freed on August 19. However, he is still under four years of house arrest.

A number of members of the group, including Dang Xuan Dieu, are still serving their long-term sentences of 13 and 14 years under severe conditions.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Vietnam is holding between 150 and 200 prisoners of conscience. Hanoi denies, saying only law violators are being imprisoned./

Danluan: Đoàn người đón TNLT Trần Minh Nhật trở về bị hành hung

IJAVN: Vụ khủng bố ở Lâm Đồng: Sự thua cuộc về pháp lý của ngành công an

***************30/8/2015*******************

Amnesty International Criticizes Vietnam for not Releasing Prisoners of Conscience on National Day

 The New York-based Amnesty International has criticized Vietnam’s communist government for not freeing prisoners of conscience on the occasion of National Day [September 2].

Vietnam has missed a chance to improve its bad human rights records, said Dominique Curis, representative of Amnesty International in Paris in her interview to the Radio of France International (RFI).

Last week, Vietnam informed it grant amnesty for 18,539 prisoners  but no prisoners of conscience are included.

According to Amnesty International, Vietnam is holding between 150 and 200 prisoners of conscience while Hanoi says it is imprisoning only law violators.

RFI: Đặc xá nhân Quốc Khánh : Ân xá Quốc tế chỉ trích thiếu sót của Việt Nam

====================== 

Hanoi Police Deport Son of Arrested Land Petitioner Prior to Grand Parade

Hanoi police on August 29 deported Duong Van Tuyen, who is seeking justice for his mother, several days prior to a grand parade on the occasion of the National Day [September 2].

Tuyen, son of Vu Thi Hai who is under arrest on charge of causing public disorders, was detained by Hanoi police at 7.30 pm of Saturday when he was staying in his rent house in the capital city. Immediately, he was handed over to police of Ninh Binh province where Tuyen resides.

About one hour later, Tuyen informed by cell phone that he was escorted by Ninh Binh policemen to the home town where he was under detention in a local police station. Several hours later, activists tried to connect him but his phone was switched off.

His deportation was made three days ahead of the grand parade in which the Vietnamese communist government deploys 30,000 participants. Authorities in the capital city wants to prevent all spontaneous gatherings of land petitioners who have regularly rallied in main streets in Hanoi for months to demand for justice in a bid to secure the event in which many foreign high-ranking guests and diplomats attend.

It is unclear whether other land petitioners have also been deported by Hanoi police on the occasion.

Tuyen started to join other land petitioners few months ago when he was refused to meet with his mother, Ms. Vu Thi Hai, who was detained by security forces in Hanoi on June 9 when she and other land petitioners strived to approach the building of Vietnam’s legislative body National Assembly in the city’s center to complain their cases with lawmakers.

Hanoi police arrested her and some other and took them to Ha Dong district police station, about 15 km away from the city’s center. Later, they released other but kept Mrs. Hai and charged her with allegation of causing public disorders.

If being convicted, Mrs. Hai faces imprisonment up to seven years.

Mr. Tuyen said he has sent letters to the parliament, the Supreme Procuracy, the Ministry of Public Security as well as the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the Vietnam Women Association to demand for unconditional release of his mother.

Mr. Tuyen, whose father died in a working accident in 2013, said local authorities have cheated his family, transforming the ownership of about five hectares of his family’s land to local communal cadres.

His mother protested the grabbing, going to government agencies in different levels from the home district to the highest level in Hanoi to fill complaints against the illegal land seizure. However, her voice has been ignored, even police consider her as one of trouble makers and subjects for their harassment.

Mrs. Hai joined hundreds of other land petitioners nationwide to rally in Hanoi’s streets and gather in fronts of government’s buildings to demand for their land return or market price compensation for their illegally-revoked land. They live in streets, sleep in parks and often receive financial supports from people.

Hanoi police have regularly attack them, beating them and destroying their temporary tents or hiring thugs to throw dirty substances to them in a bid to expel them to their home provinces.

Numerous Vietnamese land petitioners have been arrested and charged with allegation of conducting public disturbance under Article 245 of the Criminal Code.

Land seizure is one of systematic issue in the communist Vietnam where all land belongs to the state and residents have only right to use it.

According to the current law, the government can take land of people for defense purpose and socio-economic development. In many localities, local authorities have seized land from residents for urban and industrial development without paying adequate compensations.

Illegal land seizure in many Vietnamese provinces and cities have triggered strong protest from the land owners. In 2013, aquatic farmer Doan Van Vuon used hand-made explosive to attack policemen and soldiers who came to revoke his family from his renting land. Two soldiers were injured while Vuon was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Many other farmers have been jailed for peaceful protest against illegal land seizure, according to local media./

Vu Quoc Ngu: Hanoi Police Deport Son of Arrested Land Petitioner Prior to Grand Parade