Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Report June 12-18, 2017: HRD Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh to Be Tried on June 29

Defend the Defenders | June 18, 2017

Vietnam’s authorities will try prominent human rights activist and well-known government critic Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh on June 29. The famous blogger with nickname Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) was arrested on October 10, 2016 and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the country’s Penal Code, and she faces imprisonment of between three years and 12 years if being convicted.

Ms. Quynh has been held incommunicado during over the past eight months while her family is under heavy surveillance of Khanh Hoa province’s security forces.

Another female HRD Tran Thi Nga, who was arrested on January 21 this year and charged with the same allegation, is refused medical treatment for her mucosal injury while being held in the detention facility of Ha Nam province. Due to the injury, her health worsened as she cannot uptake food but only rice soup.

Vietnam’s authorities officially announced the decision of President Tran Dai Quang on revoking the citizenship of former political prisoner Pham Minh Hoang, who has also French citizenship. The France-trained master, who is facing deportation, said he had filed a petition to challenge the decision.

Prisoner of conscience Protestant pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh is inhumanely treated by authorities in the prison in Binh Phuoc after he met with U.S.’s delegation and reported his situation while serving his 11-year imprisonment.

Hoang Duc Binh, a labor and environmental activist, who was arrested on May 15 and charged with Articles 257 and 258 of the Penal Code by authorities of Nghe An province, was transferred to B14 detention facility in Hanoi which is under the direct management of the Ministry of Public Security. The transfer means that he may face more serious charge as Vietnam’s government wants to intensify its crackdown against activists protesting the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant which caused the environmental disaster in the central coastal region in April-May last year.

Meanwhile, authorities in Ha Tinh changed the charge against blogger Nguyen Van Hoa from “abusing freedom of democracy” under Article 258 to “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code. Hoa was detained on January 11 this year.

On June 15, former prisoner of conscience Do Thi Minh Hanh, who is chairwomen of the unsanctioned Viet Labor Movement, was barred from leaving the country when she was on her way to Austria to visit her mother who has health problem.

Authorities in Nghe An continue to harass Catholic priests and followers in Song Ngoc parish, Quynh Luu district. Despite the presence of numerous police officers, gangs of youths who were wearing red T-shirts with yellow stars and waving national flags have attacked Catholics and their property in the parish, throwing stones and bricks at churches and demolished private residences of many followers.

The Investigation Agency under the Hanoi Police Department has decided to probe the hostage of state officials in Dong Tam in April despite the promise of Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung of the city’s People’s Committee not to prosecute residents of Dong Tam given on the day of the officials’ release.

The probe will be made with two charges namely “Illegal arrest, custody or detention of people” under Article 123 and “Destroying or deliberately damaging property” under Article 143 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. People who are charged with the first allegation may face imprisonment of between three months and two years, and between six months and seven years for the second charge, according to the current Vietnamese law.

And many other news.

 

===== June 12 =====

Priests in Song Ngoc Parish Say Nghe An Authorities are Letting Thugs Terrorize Catholic Community

 

Catholic News Services: Police in Nghe An province have looked the other way as groups of youths have terrorized a Catholic community in the Song Ngoc parish, Quynh Luu district, according to local bloggers.

Since the beginning of June, gangs of youths who were wearing red T-shirts with yellow stars and waving national flags have attacked Catholics and their property in the parish in which priests and followers are strongly protesting the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant which caused environmental catastrophe in the central coastal region and seriously affected livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people who earn for living from fisheries and related businesses.

“We see that the attacks have been carried out in an orchestrated manner, and the police know well what is occurring, but are ignoring what is going on,” said 11 priests in a petition given to the Vietnamese government on June 13.

The priests accused the government of “aiding and abetting those who intentionally violate laws, cause hatred and divide Catholics from others.”

The attacks have occurred at night, and at least two Catholics have been seriously injured, sources told UCA News.

Despite a heavy police presence, the youths have ridden motorbikes at full throttle through villages at night and thrown stones at a local church and at the homes of Catholics. They have also intimated businesses owned by Catholics and, in one case, the youths, armed with knives, threatened a Catholic shop owner and destroyed his goods while also driving away his customers.

Local Catholics said the youths are supporters of the Communist Party and criminal elements from other areas.

As part of their intimidation campaign, the youths raised banners in public places that called on locals to expel two priests active in helping local fishermen sue the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp., which was responsible for a marine pollution disaster in April 2016. The youths also collected signatures from locals calling for the expulsion of the priests — Frs. John Baptist Nguyen Dinh Thuc and Anthony Dang Huu Nam — from the area.

“The primary motivation behind the incidents is to pressurize local Catholics and the deanery into boycotting and expelling priests Dang Huu Nam and Nguyen Dinh Thuc from Quynh Luu district,” the priests said in their petition.

The petition said the government is seeking to “conceal the truth about the marine catastrophe caused by Formosa and preventing the people’s fight against the steel plant.”

Toxic waste, including phenol and cyanide, from the Taiwanese-built steel plant in Ha Tinh province poisoned water along a 125-mile stretch of Vietnam’s coastline, killing hundreds of tons of fish. Those affected by the disaster are seeking to be properly compensated and for the plant to be moved from the area.

===== June 13 =====

Vietnam Formally Charges Prominent HRD Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh

 

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have formally charged prominent human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who is a well-known blogger with penname Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) with three criminal counts under Article 88 (1) of the country’s Penal Code.

Until June 14, the authorities had said that she was being detained on charges of ‘propaganda against the state’ without specifying which counts.

Authorities in Khanh Hoa province informed her family that the detention of Quynh who was arrested on October 10 last year would be extended by two and a half months.

She is charged with “Propagating against, distorting and/or defaming the people’s administration,” “Propagating psychological warfare and spreading fabricated news in order to foment confusion among people” and “Making, storing and/or circulating documents and/or cultural products with contents against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” If found guilty, she faces up to 12 years in prison.

Quynh is a blogger and Coordinator of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network. Since 2006, she has been blogging. She has exposed corruption cases and human rights violations committed by the authorities, and as a result, has been targeted and subjected to arrest and physical attacks.

She is the recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Defender award from the Stockholm-based NGO Civil Rights Defenders and was recently awarded the 2017 International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State.

Quynh has been kept in incommunicado in a detention center in Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province ever since, without being permitted visits from her family or her lawyers.

Her mother Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan and two children were placed under de facto house arrest in many occasion, including during the 21st Vietnam-US Human Rights Dialogue took place in Hanoi last month. They remain under police surveillance.

Nguyen Ha Luan, a lawyer who represents Quynh, said that he and another lawyer, Le Luan, had been certified to represent her before the Khanh Hoa Province People’s Court.

Two other lawyers, Vo An Don and Nguyen Kha Thanh, posted on Facebook that Quynh had requested their representation as well.

===== June 14 =====

Hanoi Police Probe Dong Tam Hostage Case despite City Mayor’s Promise

 

Defend the Defenders: The Investigation Agency under the Hanoi Police Department has decided to probe the hostage of state officials in Dong Tam in April despite the promise of Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung of the city’s People’s Committee given on the day of the officials’ release, state media has reported.

The probe will be made with two charges namely “Illegal arrest, custody or detention of people” under Article 123 and “Destroying or deliberately damaging property” under Article 143 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. People who are charged with the first allegation may face imprisonment of between three months and two years, and between six months and seven years for the second charge, according to the current Vietnamese law.

On April 15, police in Hanoi detained several residents of Dong Tam commune, My Duc district where local residents resist the government’s land seizure of 47 hectares in Mieu Mon areas. Hanoi’s authorities also deployed a large number of police officers, including mobile police to the areas. The detention was made without official warrants and one of the detainees was injured during the arrest.

In response, residents in Dong Tam held 38 state officials and police officers in hostage for one week. After police released the detainees and Chairman Chung came to the commune on April 22 to give a written letter saying he will not seek responsibilities of the local residents in holding the officials, Dong Tam freed their hostages. The hostages said they had been treated well during the standoff.

On that day, Mr. Chung also requested investigations of the detention of Dong Tam’s residents and the land use in Mieu Mon areas.

The land parcel that the government wants to seize belongs to Dong Tam commune. During the Vietnam War, the government took it and gave to the army for building Mieu Mon military zone.

Recently, the government decided to give the land to the military-based Viettel Group to carry out project and Dong Tam residents do not agree with that, insisting the government to return the land to them for cultivating crops.

Land seizure is problematic in Vietnam where the law states that all land belongs to the state and residents have only right to use it. The government can seize land for socio-economic development and defense purposes without giving adequate compensation.

Authorities in many localities have taken land from local residents with low compensation prices and given it to property and industrial developers at much higher prices.

Thousands of evicted peoples have gathered in Hanoi and other big cities to file their complaints, demanding for land return or compensation at market prices.

——————–

Pastor Tortured In Vietnam after Reporting Abuse to US Officials

 

The Daily Caller: Officials at a Vietnamese prison are torturing a pastor for violating an order to keep silent to U.S. officials about they ways prison officials previously abused him.

Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, father of five, met with officials from the U.S. consulate in Ho Chi Minh City in May and told them that prison officials had beaten him, put him in stocks, put glass in his food, and humiliated him, according to UCA News Tuesday.

Chinh’s wife, Tran Thi Hong, who was also beaten and imprisoned for two months and continues to suffer harassment, told UCA News that prison officials put Chinh in solitary confinement in a small space immediately after his meeting with U.S. officials. Prison officials warned Chinh the day before the meeting that he was not to speak of the abuses they inflict on him.

“I am very concerned about his poor health in solitary confinement because he is suffering severe sinusitis and high blood pressure,” Hong said.

The Vietnamese government arrested Chinh in 2012 on the charge of “undermining government solidarity” for criticizing how religious expression is limited in Vietnam and sentenced him to 11 years in prison, according to Jackie Wolcott from the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom.

Chinh has been abused for six years for refusing to admit wrongdoing, despite prison officials’ attempts to make him confess. Vietnamese government officials attempted to break Chinh earlier this year by lying to him that his wife, Hong, had been unfaithful.

“Pastor Chinh has not committed a crime,” Wolcott said. “Yet he suffers in prison in ill health while Vietnamese authorities harass his family. As long as he remains in prison and as long as authorities unfairly treat his family, I will publicly and privately raise their case so that one day soon they may be reunited in safety and able to practice their faith freely.”

Related article: Christian pastor isolated, tortured in Vietnam after reporting prison abuses to US diplomats

===== June 15 =====

Vietnam Labor Activist Barred from Leaving Country to Visit Ill Mother in Austria

 

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have barred Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh, chairwoman of the independent Viet Labor Movement, from leaving country to visit her sick mother in Austria.

On June 15, Hanh, who was a former prisoner of conscience, was stopped by Vietnam’s security forces in the Ha Tien International Border Gate in the southern province of Kien Giang when she planned to go to Cambodia where she might take an international flight to Austria where her mother and sister are staying.

In the working minute, the authorities in the border gate said national security is the reason for the blockage, adding Hanh can seek petition for her foreign travel ban to the Immigration Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.

Ms. Hanh, who was released in June 2014 after 44 months in prison, said she wants to visit her mother who has serious health problem. Her mother is staying with her sister who has Austrian citizenship.

Ms. Hanh is co-founder of the unsanctioned Viet Labor Movement which is striving to help Vietnamese workers fight for higher salary and better working conditions. She was arrested in late October 2010 and later sentenced to seven years in prison on charge of Disrupting security under Article 89 of the Penal Code. Under great international pressure, Vietnam was forced to release her in June 2014.

After being freed, Hanh continues to lead Viet Labor Movement to work for promoting the workers’ right to form independent unions which can protect their rights.

Vietnam’s communist government has intensified its crackdown against local political dissidents, human rights defenders and social activists in order to prevent the formation of opposition parties amid increasing social unrest due to its bad economic management, systemic corruption, weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) and other issues.

Along with arresting and physically attacking activists, Vietnam has barred hundreds of activists from going abroad to prevent them from meeting with foreign officials and counterparts to report human rights violations in the country and learn experiences. Majority of activists nationwide cannot leave the country due to the decisions of the minister of public security or police chiefs of provinces and cities.

——————–

Labor Activist Hoang Duc Binh Transferred to B14 Detention Facility in Hanoi

 

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have transferred labor activist Hoang Duc Binh, who was arrested on May 15, from a detention center of the central province of Nghe An to B14 detention facility in Hanoi which is under management of the Ministry of Public Security.

The move means that Binh may face severer charges for his peaceful activities which aim to help the Catholic community in the central region to seek justice in the environmental disaster caused by the illegal discharge of toxic industrial waste of the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant into the central coastal waters last year.

One month ago, authorities in Nghe An kidnapped Binh, vice chairman of the unsanctioned Viet Labor Movement, and later charged him with “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 and “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 Penal Code. According to Vietnam’s current law, he will face imprisonment of between six months and three years for the first charge, and up to seven years for the second charge.

Binh and Bach Hong Quyen are two bloggers who have covered information about the natural disaster caused by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant as well as local protests against the pollution-causing investor. Quyen was forced to flee to a foreign country to seek political refugee status after authorities in the central province of Ha Tinh on June 12 issued an arrest warrant for him, accusing him of “causing public disorder” for his peaceful activities.

——————–

Vietnam Changes Formal Charge for Blogger Nguyen Van Hoa with Article 88

 

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have changed the formal charge for citizen journalist Nguyen Van Hoa, an activist known for filming protests against a polluting steel plant from “abusing democratic freedom and rights to violate the interests of the state” under Article 258 to “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code.

With the new charge, Hoa will face imprisonment of up to 20 years if being convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Since being detained on January 11 this year, he has been kept in incommunicado. His lawyer Ha Huy Son has not been granted legal documents to be able to defend him, nor has he been able to approach him.

Hoa, 22, who is also a digital security trainer and regular contributor to foreign news agencies, including Radio Free Asia, was the first person using a flycam drone to broadcast live footage of protests outside Taiwan-owned Formosa’s steel plant located at the deep-water port in Ha Tinh province. Last October, his footage of more than 10,000 peaceful protesters went viral.

===== June 16 =====

Former Political Prisoner Pham Minh Hoang Challenging Vietnam President Decision on Revoking His Citizenship

 

Defend the Defenders: Former political prisoner Pham Minh Hoang has filed his petition to challenge the recent decision of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang on revoking his citizenship.

His petition was sent to the Ministry of Justice on June 13, few days after he was noticed by Vietnam’s authorities about the decision of the state president, who was minister of public security.

In his petition, Mr. Hoang, who has also French citizenship, said President Quang’s decision is illegal and groundless and violates Article 2 of the Law on Citizenship.

According to Hoang’s lawyers, the current Vietnamese law, particularly Articles 19 and 31 of the Law on Citizenship, states that  revoking citizenship can be imposed on Vietnamese who reside abroad or naturalized Vietnamese or people without citizenship living in Vietnam.

Mr. Hoang, who studied his bachelor and master degrees in France, obtained French nationality during his stay there. However, he was permitted to live permanently in Ho Chi Minh City from 2007 and granted with Vietnamese citizenship as well as identification, and will not be subject to citizenship stripping.

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Hanoi on June 15, Spokeswoman Le This Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the decision of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang to revoke the citizenship of Mr. Hoang was made in line with the country’s law.

Quang’s decision was based on reports which say Mr. Hoang had violated Vietnam’s law and affected the country’s national security, Hang said.

On May 17, President Quang signed the decision to revoke the citizenship of Mr. Hoang. The move will make his stay in Ho Chi Minh City illegal and he may be extradited to France soon.

Mr. Hoang, a former prisoner of conscience, may be not allowed to stay in Vietnam with his family which includes his old mother and older brother, an invalid veteran of the South Vietnam.

Hoang was sent to France to study mathematics in 1973. When he returned, the communist soldiers took over the South Vietnam and unified the country. He hardly found his job until 2000 he started as a mathematics lecturer in the Saigon Polytechnics University.

He has posted many articles criticizing government’s policies and systemic corruption as well as the government’s weak response to China’s expansionism in the East Sea (South China Sea). In 2010, he was arrested for online writings and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code. He was sentenced to three years in prison and additional three years under house arrest, however, under international pressure, he was released after spending 17 months in jail.

After being released, Hoang met difficulties in teaching. Authorities in HCM City have tried to cause problems for his French classes.

In 2016, police violently dispersed his class in democracy and human rights, confiscating many laptops of his students. He is under close surveillance of HCM City’s security forces.

Professor Hoang said he would stay in Vietnam, even in prison rather than living in other countries. After being informed about the Vietnamese decision to revoke his citizenship, he sent a letter to the French authorities to reject his French nationality.

Responding to Vietnam’s move against Mr. Hoang, the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch and the Dublin-based organization Front Line Defenders condemned the move and called on the international community to pressure Hanoi to reverse the ruling.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the Vietnamese government’s action to strip Hoang of his citizenship “is nothing short of outrageous,” and called for pressure on Hanoi to withdraw the decision.

“This completely unjustified abuse of human rights marks a new low for Hanoi’s treatment of political dissidents because it says that they cannot even be considered Vietnamese, stripping them of their identity and nationhood in one abrupt maneuver,” Robertson said.

“The international community, especially aid donors to Vietnam, must tell Hanoi that this abuse cannot be allowed to stand, the President’s letter must be rescinded, and the action must be immediately reversed.”

Meanwhile, Front Line Defenders expresses concern at this recent act of harassment against Mr. Hoang, which it believes to be directly related to his peaceful and legitimate work in the defense of human rights in Vietnam. It urges Vietnam’s authorities to immediately reverse their decision to revoke Hoang’s Vietnamese citizenship and cease targeting all human rights defenders in Vietnam and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

——————–

Ha Tinh Prosecutes Three Female Catholic Followers in Case Relating to Formosa

 

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Vietnam’s central coastal province of Ha Tinh have prosecuted three female Catholic followers in Con Se parish in a case related to the peaceful protests against the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant which illegally discharged a huge volume of toxic industrial waste into the central coastal waters last year and caused the environmental disaster in the region last year.

On June 14, Nguyen Thi Ha, 49, Tran Thi Tuyen, 39 and Nguyen Thi Van, 37, were arrested and charged with causing public disorder under Article 245 of the Penal Code. They will face imprisonment of up to two years.

Last month, Ha Tinh issued an arrest warrant for blogger Bach Hong Quyen, who assisted local residents in organizing peaceful demonstrations to request compensation from Formosa for their illegal throwing toxic chemicals which cause massive fish deaths in April-May last year.

So far, the fishing activities in Ha Tinh and other neighbor provinces have not resumed due to the Formosa toxic spill.

———————

Two Detenees Die in Police Stations as Police Torture Continues after Vietnam Ratifies CAT

 

Defend the Defenders: During the week, two detainees were found dead in police stations in Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, and police said their committed suicide during the detentions.

On June 14, Ngo Chi Tam, a resident in Tam Binh ward, Thu Duc district in Ho Chi Minh City died.

Mr. Tam, 40, was summoned by the local police on 8 PM of June 13. At 7 AM of the next day, the police informed his family that he had used his elastic belt to hang himself in a detention room. Police said he fell in coma and was transferred to An Binh hospital. He died before his relatives arrived in the medical facility.

Meanwhile, authorities on Ea Tam, Krong Nang district in Dak Lak on June 16 announced that Hoang Van Long, who had been arrested since June 13 as a suspect in a stealing case, committed suicide and died in a detention facility in the evening of June 15.

State media reported that the communal police in Ea Kao, Buon Ma Thuot city in Dak Lak chased three young local residents who rided on a motorbike without wearing helmets. Without giving warning, two policemen sprayed tear gas and fired rubber bullets on them, causing serious injuries on their heads and backs. The victims were hospitalized to treat for their injuries.

Police torture is systemic in Vietnam, according to a recent report of the New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch. The Ministry of Public Security reported 226 detainees and prisoners died in police custody between October 2010 and September 2014 due to suicides and illness while the families of the victims said their deaths were caused by police torture.

Dozens of people were founded in police stations nationwide in the past few years.

Vietnam ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in2015.

===== June 17 =====

Hanoi Police Detain, Interrogate Former Prisoner of Conscience Pham Van Troi

 

Defend the Defenders: In the moring of June 17, police in Hanoi violently detained former political prisoner Pham Van Troi to Thuong Tin district’s police headquarter and questioned him for many hours.

Mr. Troi, who recently stepped down as president of the Brotherhood for Democracy, said security officers interrogated him about a case which is under ongoing investigation.

Troi said he refused to answer the questions of security officers and left the police station at noon.

He said that many policemen were deployed to station near his private residence on Friday and Saturday.

Mr. Troi, 45, was arrested in 2008 and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code. Later, he was sentenced to four years in prison and additional four years under house arrest.

After being released in September 2012, he has continued to work for promoting human rights and multi-party democracy. In 2014-2016, he was president of the unsanctioned Brotherhood for Democracy founded by imprisoned human right lawyer Nguyen Van Dai

===== June 18 =====

Vietnam to Try Prominent HRD Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh on June 29

 

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities will try prominent human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh on June 29, her mother Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan told Defend the Defenders.

Ms. Lan said she learn the news from lawyer Nguyen Kha Thanh, one of Ms. Quynh’s lawyers. She has not been received a notice for the trial of her daughter and plans to go to Khanh Hoa province’s People Court to request for a permission to attend the trial.

Ms. Quynh, the recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Defender award from the Stockholm-based NGO Civil Rights Defenders and recently awarded the 2017 International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State, was arrested on October 10, 2016.

Quynh, who is well-known blogger with nickname Me Nam (Mother Mushroom), was charged with three criminal counts under Article 88 (1) of the country’s Penal Code. If found guilty, she faces up to 12 years in prison.

She has been kept in incommunicado since being arrested more than eight months ago. In addition, her mother and two children are also under heavy surveillance of the security forces in Nha Trang who have placed them de facto under house arrest in many occasions in order to prevent them from meeting with foreign diplomats and guests.

Quynh is a blogger and Coordinator of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network. Since 2006, she has been blogging. She has exposed corruption cases and human rights violations committed by the authorities, and as a result, has been targeted and subjected to arrest and physical attacks.

She is among leading activists publicly protesting China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) as well as objecting the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant located in the central province of Ha Tinh which illegally discharged a huge volume of toxic industrial waste into the central coastal waters and caused the environmental catastrophe in which fisheries died massively in the 200-km central coast in April-May last year.

Her arrest and trial is part of Vietnam’s intensifying efforts to silence local political dissidents, human rights defenders and social activists. Dozens of activists have been arrested and sentenced with heavy sentences since the beginning of 2016 when the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam held the 12th National Congress to elect the new leadership for the 2016-2021 period.

——————–

Detained HRD Tran Thi Nga Rejected Medical Treatment for Mucosal Injury

 

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Vietnam’s northern province of Ha Nam have refused to provide proper medical treatment for detained human rights defender Tran Thuy Nga, who was arrested on January 21 and charted with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code.

Ms. Nga has suffered from mucosal injury and she cannot take food but only rice soup, said her lawyer Ha Huy Son who met her recently.

Due to the injury, her health worsened fast, the lawyer said.

Nga asked authorities of the province’s detention facility to allow her to go to a hospital for treatment but they rejected, Son said.

In early May, Ha Nam police said they completed the investigation against Nga and handed over the investigation results to the province’s People’s Court. Her trial is expected to be held soon.

Ms. Nga was a migrant worker in Taiwan. While working there, she assisted Vietnamese workers to demand Vietnamese brokers to take responsibility to ensure the rights of migrant workers.

Upon her return to Vietnam, about ten years ago, she has assisted land petitioners who lost their land due to illegal seizure from local authorities.

She also participated in many anti-China demonstrations in Hanoi from 2011 to 2016 to protest China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea), as well as in peaceful gatherings to demand multi-party democracy.

Due to her activities, Vietnam’s communist government, particularly authorities in Ha Nam province have constantly harassed and persecuted her and her two children. She was detained many times and was placed under de facto house arrest for most of the last two years.

In May 2014, she was attacked by plainclothes agents in Hanoi who broke her right leg and caused a number of severe injuries to her body.

Police in Ha Nam have also targeted her kids, throwing dirty sauce containing decaying shrimp at them. Her private residence in Phu Ly city was attacked with paint and dirty substances many times.

Ms. Nga is among six distinguished women human rights activists in Southeast Asia the London-based NGO Amnesty International recognized their works on the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8) this year. Nga, Sirikan Charoensiri from Thailand, Maria Chin Abdullah from Malaysia, Tep Vanny from Cambodia, Leila de Lima from Philippines and Wai Wai Nuwho from Myanmar have faced harassment, threats, imprisonment, and violence for standing up for human rights in the region.

For more information on Ms. Nga’s activities and the government’s persecution against her and her kids, go to older articles on our website: http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/?s=%22Tran+Thi+Nga%22

=============== end ==================