Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Report for April 30-May 6, 2018: Political Prisoner Tran Anh Kim Suffers Serious Disease While Serving 13-year Imprisonment

 

Defend the Defenders | May 6, 2018

Prisoner of conscience Tran Anh Kim is suffering from a number of serious diseases, including prostatitis and headache, while serving his 13-year imprisonment in the Prison camp No. 5 in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

His health has worsened recently and he was hospitalized for weeks. Despite hospitalization, the situation has not improved much due to improper treatment, according to his wife.

Mr. Kim, 69, was convicted of subversion in 2016 and sentenced to 13 years in jail and four years of probation just for exercising the rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

Prisoner of conscience Hoang Duc Binh, who was convicted for helping Formosa-affected fishermen seek justice, has been permitted to meet with his family for the first time one year after being detained a year earlier.

Vietnamese authorities continue to target indigenous minority Christians known as Montagnards, with harsh persecution, according to a 25-page report published by the Montagnard Human Rights Organization (MHRO) and the Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam (CAT-VN)on early May.

The report documents the ongoing practice by government officials of forcing Montagnard Christians to publicly recant their religion; those who continue to worship in independent house churches face beatings, arrest, and imprisonment.

Defend the Defenders is joining nine other civil society organizations in making shadow reports to the government’s report on implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the occasion of the Vietnam’s review slated on July 2-27 this year.

The People’s Procuracy in Ho Chi Minh City has extended the investigation period against pro-democracy activist Luu Van Vinh from April 13 until May 13 after the People’s Court in the city requested local authorities to investigate further in the case in which Vinh and his friends were charged with subversion under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code. Vinh and Nguyen Van Duc Do, vice president of the unregistered Viet Labor Movement were arrested on November 6, 2017 in relation with the unsanctioned Coalition for Self-determined Vietnamese People which aims to end the political monopoly of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

===== May 4 =====

Jailed Hoang Duc Binh Allowed to Meet with Family for First Time in One Year

Defend the Defenders: Imprisoned human rights defender and environmentalist activist Hoang Duc Binh was permitted to meet with his family on May 4, the first time since being detained on May 15 last year.

On Thursday, his family was allowed to meet him at the Nghi Kim Temporary Detention Facility under the authority of the Nghe An province’s Department of Public Security. However, they were separated by a thick glass barrier, said his younger brother Hoang Nguyen.

Nguyen said Binh expressed his thankfulness for the supports given by the international community and domestic public to him after he was kidnapped. He was charged with “resisting on-duty state officials” under Article 330 and “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

Binh, who is a vice president of the unsanctioned Viet Labor Movement, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by the People’s Court of Dien Chau district on February 6 this year. His sentence was upheld by the People’s Court of Nghe An province on April 24.

His family had not been permitted to meet him during his pre-trial detention. The family was allowed to send him additional food three times a month, with food value being below VND50,000 ($2.2) each time.

During the appeal hearing on April 24, Binh told his lawyer Ha Huy Son that he was forced to share a cell with criminals who beat him brutally.

Binh is expected to be transferred to a prison camp far from his native province of Nghe An in coming days, the common practice of Vietnam’s authorities which aims to punish dissidents.

For more information on Mr. Binh’s case, please go to our archive: http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/defenders-weekly/?post=hoang-duc-binh-viet-labor

===== May 5 =====

Prisoner of Conscience Tran Anh Kim Suffers Serious Diseases while Serving 13-year Imprisonment

Defend the Defenders: Vietnamese prisoner of conscience Tran Anh Kim, who is serving his 13-year prison sentence on alleged subversion, is suffering a number of serious diseases, including prostate glandinflammation, according to his wife Nguyen Thi Thom.

After being sentenced to 13 years in prison and four years under house arrest in 2016, Mr. Kim, 69, was sent to Prison camp No. 5 in the central province of Thanh Hoa, about 300 km from his native province of Thai Binh.

Due to inhumane treatment in prison, his prostate glandinflammation became serious. He reportedly feels great pain in his head as a result of injuries he suffered as a soldier participating in the war against China’s invasion of Vietnam’s northernmost provinces in 1979.

Mrs. Thom said several months ago, he was transferred to Thanh Hoa province’s General Hospital for treating prostate glandinflammation and stayed there for over 20 days. She was allowed to provide him care under close watch of police.

However, his health conditions have not improved much due to improper treatment, she said, adding he may not survive to complete his lengthy imprisonment.

Mr. Kim, former lieutenant colonel of the Vietnam People’s Army, has difficult in taking food since he lost most of his teeth. He wants to implant teeth but lacks of financial resources as well as permission from the prison’s authorities.

Mr. Kim has been imprisoned twice before. He was sacked from his post of deputy head of the military political department of Thai Binh city after being accused of mismanagement. He claimed innocence and unfairly treated. His appeals sent to all state agencies, including the government and the president remained unanswered, and later he was sentenced to two years in prison.

After being released, he devoted himself to multi-party democracy. From 1995-2005, he participated in a number of groups which promoted multi-party democracy, including the 8406 Bloc. He assisted farmers whose land had been illegally seized by local authorities to seek justice and participated in anti-corruption campaigns.

He was arrested for the second time in July 2009 and charged with attempting to “overthrow the people’s government” under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code. He was later sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail and released in July 2015.

He was re-arrested in September 2015 on suspicion of subversion. The People’s Court of Thai Binh sentenced him to 13 years in prison and four years under house arrest. His fellow Le Thanh Tung was given 12 years in jail and three years of probation. According to the indictment, Mr. Kim had the intention to establish an organization called “People Forces for Democracy Promotion” with the participation of army officers to overthrow the current regime and replace it with a democratic government. The two activists planned to publicize their organization on September 21, 2015, but Vietnam’s security forces arrested Mr. Kim a few days before the organization’s debut.

Mr. Kim was honored with the Hellman/Hammett Prize awarded by the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch in 2009.

Both Kim and Tung are among 82 prisoners of conscience whom the London-based Amnesty International has urged Vietnam to free unconditionally and immediately.

The US Embassy in Vietnam also condemned the conviction of Mr. Kim and Mr. Tung, saying the two activists were imprisoned just because of exercisng their basic rights of expression and assembly enshrined in the country’s 2013 Constitution.

In addition to inhumane treatment of Mr. Kim in custody, security forces in Thai Binh have been isolating his family, not allowing the family’s members to contact with other activists. A number of activists have been beaten, detained and questioned by the local police when they visited Mr. Kim’s family, Mr. Nguyen Tuong Thuy, vice president of the unsanctioned Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), talked to Defend the Defenders. Mr. Thuy and other activists were once beaten by Thai Binh police when they visited Kim’s family in 2016.

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Vietnam Continues Relentless Repression of Montagnard Christians: Report

Defendthe Defenders: Vietnamese authorities continue to target indigenous minority Christians known as Montagnards with harsh persecution, according to a 25-page report published by the Montagnard Human Rights Organization (MHRO) and the Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam (CAT-VN)on early May.

Montagnards are treated like enemies in our homeland, said MHRO’s ExecutiveDirector Nay Rong, adding if Montagnards try to practice their religion independently or resist confiscation of their land, they are accused of being ‘spies’ or wanting to overthrow the government.”

The report documents the ongoing practice by government officials of forcing Montagnard Christians to publicly recant their religion; those who continue to worship in independent house churches face beatings, arrest, and imprisonment.

The Ministry of Public Securityhas also been closely monitoringInternet use by Montagnards accusingthem of“disseminating false information about land, religion, and human rights to slander the Vietnamese government.”

At least 60 Montagnards are currently serving prison sentences of up to 17 years for simply exercising their rights to peaceful dissent and independent worship, according to the report.

Vietnam’s harsh persecution of Montagnard Christiansforces many of them to flee to Cambodia and Thailand, the report claims, adding the Vietnamese government has persecuted those returned to the country, and punishment measures include detention, interrogation, physical abuse, and forced confessions of wrongdoings broadcast on state television.

For further information:

Report: Vietnam’s Relentless Repression of Montagnard Christians

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Defendthe Defenders Joins with Nine CSOs to Produce Shadow Reports for Vietnam’s ICCPR

Defend the Defenders: Defend the Defenders, one of the few non-profit independent human rights organization, is joining with nine other civil society organizations in producing shadow reports on the occasion of the review of Vietnam’s implementation of the International Covenent on Civil and Political Rights slated on July 2-27 this year.

The shadow reports submitted by civil society organizations will provide the international community with independent information on the situation in the country in the fields along with the report filed by the government.

The government sent its report on the issue to the UN Human Rights Council on December 22, 2017.

BPSOS and VOICE are other parties among Vietnam’s civil society organizations participating in the shadow report making.

The shadow reports of civil society organizations are important since the government report does not describe the exact situation in the country regarding the implementation of civil and political rights. The government report fails to address human rights violations in the country.

Vietnam ratified the convention in 1982.

===== May 06 =====

Investigation against Activist Luu Van Vinh on Subversion Allegation

Defend the Defenders: The People’s Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City has extended the investigation against pro-democracy Luu Van Vinh from April 13 to May 13, according to his wife Mrs. Le Thi Thap.

During a prison visit in April, Mr. Vinh informed his wife about the new move. The agency’s decision was handed over to him but not to his wife, she told Defend the Defenders.

In March, the Investigation Agency under the city’s Public Security Department sent the documentation on the case to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court and proposed to persecute him on allegation of “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

However, the court rejected the police’s proposal and returned the documentation of the case, requesting further investigation.

Mr. Vinh, who has participated in a number of peaceful demonstrations in Hanoi and HCM City in 2011-2015 on various issues, including democracy, human rights, China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) as well as environmental pollution, was arrested on November 6, 2016 and charged with subversion.

His arrest was made few days after he left the unsanctioned Coalition for Self-determined Vietnamese People which he formed in mid-July of 2016. The organization in which he was president, asstates in its debut,  aims to end the communists’ political monopoly and that all major issues of the country should be decided by the people via referendums.

Along with detaining Vinh, police in HCM City also arrested some of his friends, including Nguyen Van Duc Do, vice president of the unrecognized Viet Labor Movement.

After Vinh’s detention, Amnesty International issued a statement calling on Vietnam’s government to immediately and unconditionally release Vinh and Do.

In November last year, the UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia called on Vietnam to release Vinh, Do and well-known blogger Ho Hai, who was arrested and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code. The UN agency said the three activists pushing for greater freedoms Vietnam should be granted unconditional release.

For more information on Mr. Vinh’s case, please go to our archive:

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