March 20, 2017
By Defend the Defenders, March 19, 2017
Prisoner of conscience Nguyen Dang Minh Man was beaten and disciplined while serving her eight-year prison term in Vietnam’s Detention No. 5 in the central province of Thanh Hoa, her family announced.
At a meeting with her father last week, Ms. Man said she was disciplined by the prison’s authorities, who locked her in a dirty cell and gave her unsafe food.
She was also severely beaten by another inmate, whom she suspected had been sent by prison’s authorities.
Due to the prison conditions, Man’s health is very bad, her father said.
Former prisoner of conscience Ta Phong Tan, who shared the same cell with Ms. Man in the Thanh Hoa province’s prison before being released and forced to live in exile in the U.S., said that in Prison No. 5 prisoners of conscience are held in a separate area, isolated from criminal prisoners; hence, it was likely that the inmate who beat Man was purposefully sent by the prison’s authorities.
Ms. Tan, who spent years in the same prison, said the living conditions there, especially in the area for prisoners of conscience, are critically bad. The prison’s authorities have also subjected political prisoners to torture and other inhuman treatment.
Many prisoners of conscience, including Ta Phong Tan, Ho Thi Bich Khuong and Pham Thi Loc, have been detained in the prison.
Human rights defender Man was arrested in August 2011 and charged with “attempting to overthrow the people’s government” under Article 79 of the Penal Code, together with 13 other Catholic activists.
Vietnam has systemically subjected prisoners of conscience to torture and other ill-treatment. In July 2016, Amnesty International published a report namely Prisons Within Prisons: Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa41/4187/2016/en/), which documents the treatment of prisoners of conscience in violation of the Southeast Asian nation’s international human rights obligations, including the prohibition of torture, prolonged periods of incommunicado detention and solitary confinement, the infliction of severe physical pain and suffering, the withholding of medical treatment, and punitive prison transfers.