June 18, 2017
By Defend the Defenders, June 18, 2017
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.