Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Report for May 7-13, 2018: Vietnam Continues Crackdown on Local Dissent, Arresting Blogger on Allegation of Abusing Democratic Freedom    


Defend the Defenders | May 13, 2018

Vietnam’s communist government continues its crackdown on the local dissent, arresting blogger Nguyen Duy Son on allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Mr. Son, a former employee  of Sam Son University, was accused of using his Facebook account to defame leaders of the state and Thanh Hoa province, the location which has attracted considerable attention of late due to  a number of corruption and adultery scandals involving provincial leaders. 

On May 5, , the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted local blogger Bui Hieu Vo on allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. The trial was held 14 months after his arrest in mid-March last year. He was sentenced to four years and six months in prison for posting 57 articles that the authorities claimed contained  biased content intended to distort the country’s leaders.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued a statement saying the arrest and detention of pro-democracy activist Luu Van Vinh is arbitrary as Vietnam’s government cannot provide any evidence of any violent actions. The group calls on Vietnam to release him immediately, take necessary measures to provide redress for  his loss of freedom , and amend its law, including Article 79 in the revised Penal Code, in order to comply with the commitments made by Vietnam under international human rights law.

Prisoner of conscience Nguyen Nam Phong, who was sentenced to two years in prison for refusing  to open his car to allow plainclothes policemen to arrest labor activist and environmentalist Hoang Duc Binh on May 15 last year, said that during his pre-trial detention in the Nghi Kim temporary detention facility, he was placed in the same cell with criminal inmates who repeatedly beat him. The torture was likely designed by the Nghe An police as reprisal for his efforts to assist Formosa-affected fishermen as a driver of outspoken Catholic priest Nguyen Dinh Thuc.

Authorities in Hanoi on May 11 blocked the  wives of three imprisoned activists Nguyen Van Dai, Pham Van Troi, and Vu Van Hung, not allowing them to go to a meeting with foreign diplomats. Police placed them under house arrest on the day of the event in which diplomats from foreign embassies such as the US, Australia, Germany, and Sweden were updated with the situation of members of the unsanctioned online group Brotherhood for Democracy, who were sentenced to lengthy imprisonment on alleged subversion.

Pro-democracy activist Le Dinh Luong has been held incommunicado since being arrested on allegation of subversion in late July last year. His family has no information about him since his arrest ten months ago, nor have they been permitted to send him  needed medical supplies.

and other important news


===== 08/5 =====

Prisoner of Conscience Le Dinh Luong Still Not  Allowed to Meet with Family after 10 Months of Detention on Alleged Subversion 

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have yet allowed human rights defender Le Dinh Luong to meet with his family since being detained on July 24, 2017 on charge of “Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Xoan, a daughter-in-law of the activist told Defend the Defenders that her family has no information about him since his arrest ten months ago, nor have they been permitted to send him needed  medical supplies. .

Like in other political cases, Mr. Luong has been kept incommunicado during his lengthy pre-trial detention. His relatives have also been suppressed by police.

In mid August last year, his relatives and friends went to the headquarters of the Nghe An province’s Department of Public Security to ask about him, police placed 15 of them, including several women , to a closed room and brutally beat them.

One month earlier, four days after the Nghe An police first kidnapped Luong and later announced the probe against him, police in Ho Chi Minh City also assaulted Mrs. Xoan and her husband Le Dinh Hieu, son of the detained activist.

Mr. Luong, 53, is a veteran in the war against China’s invasion of Vietnam’s northern region in the 1980s. State media reported that Mr. Luong is an extremely dangerous element belonging to the U.S.-based Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party), labeled by Vietnamese authorities as a terrorist organization.

According to the Nghe An police, Mr. Luong once called for boycotting parliamentary and local People’s Council elections until officials stopped  capitalizing on the environmental disasters caused by Formosa to cause social disorders and instigate demonstrations.

Mr. Luong himself was attacked by undercover policemen in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong in August 2015 when he visited Tran Minh Nhat, then completing his sentence on alleged subversion. Many other activists were also beaten in this incident.

The arrest of Luong is part of Vietnam’s intensified crackdown on local political dissidents, human rights advocates, social activists and online bloggers. Since 2017, more than 50 activists have been arrested and charged with vague articles in the national security provisions such as subversion and “conducting anti-state propaganda” of the Penal Code. Most of them have been convicted and sentenced to severe imprisonments up to 16 years in prison.

Among the convicted rights defenders are prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of probation, human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a well-known blogger under the pen name Mother Mushroom, who was given ten years in prison, and environmentalist and labor activist Hoang Duc Binh, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

If convicted, Luong faces imprisonment of up to life imprisonment or even death punishment, according to the current Vietnamese law.


Nghe An Launch Campaign Persecuting Catholic Followers after Assaulting Them in Mid-December Last Year

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Nghe An are launching a campaign to persecute Catholic followers in the Ke Gai parish, more than four months after they brutally beat parishioners in a bid to prevent them from building a new church.

According to the Good News for The Poor (GNsP), an independent newswire of the Catholic community in the country, Ke Gai parishioners are worried and upset after the province’s police summoned two local residents to a police station for interrogation in a case of “illegal detention” on December 17 last year.

Two parishioners namely Nguyen Van An and Vo Dinh Dung were requested to be in the province’s police headquarters on May 7 for their involvement in the case in which Catholic followers held four state officials and requested them to admit the attack of members of the so-called Red Flag group against Ke Gai followers. The Red Flag group is a government-backed group specializing in disseminating hate against the Catholic community, and has been documented engaging in violence

Defend the Defenders has learned that Mr. Dung and Mr. An denied to receive summon letters while priest Nguyen Duc Nhan of the Ke Gai parish issued a statement saying no followers are obligated to go for interrogation.

Back to the incident on December 2017. Ke Gai followers planned to upgrade a road and dredged an agricultural canal located within the parish. However, authorities in Hung Tay commune, Hung Nguyen district did not agree with their works. They deployed many police and militia to the area and ordered the parishioners to halt their works.

Later, hundreds of members of the Red Flag groupwere sent to the scene on two buses. Under the direction of Nguyen Van Thu, chairman of the Hung Tay commune’s People’s Committee and the presence of the Hung Nguyen district police chief named Luc, the thugs attacked parishioners brutally. Many parishioners, mostly women, were assaulted and knocked down on the wet field amid the cold winter. Due to their assaults, may followers suffered severe injuries.

Warned about the attack, followers from surrounding areas gathered to protect the Ke Gai followers. They went to the Hung Tay commune’s public building to seek the chairman to question why he ordered the Red Flag members to beat parishioners, however, he has disappeared. Then followers invited a party’s deputy chief in the commune, the chief of the Hung Nguyen district police and two district officials to acknowledge the assault carried out by Red Flag thugs. Later, the officials were released unhurt.

More than four months after the incident, police in Hung Nguyen tried to probe the case, accusing followers from Hung Tay commune, particularly Ke Gai parishioners of illegal detention of state officials.

The move aims to threaten Catholic followers in general, and force Ke Gai parishioners to compromise by withdrawing their denunciation against the Red Flag.

Nghe An province is one of many localities in Vietnam where local authorities are using violent acts to suppress the local Catholic community.

Also in mid-December, authorities in Dien Chau district harassed the Catholic community in the Dong Kieu parish in Dien My commune, asking local parishioners to demolish their Christmas cave the local followers had built to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year holiday. Their request met strong protest from followers.

In related case, the US-based NGO BPSOS launched a campaign to lobby the American government to punish the Red Flag for their persecution against Catholic followers. The group of thugs was established last year, and there have been a dozen Catholic followers in Nghe An brutally beaten by its members who also demolished their private residences and vandalized church’s facilities.

According to BPSOS, perpetrators of inhumane acts against Catholic followers should not be allowed to go to the US.

===== May 9 =====

Nun beaten unconscious by Vietnamese gangsters  

UCA News:St. Paul de Chartres sisters in Vietnam were attacked by gangsters while they were protesting construction of a house on their former land.

On May 8, a dozen nuns tried to prevent workers from building a house on the land next to their convent in Hanoi. Workers had taken trucks and tools to the site on the previous night.

Witnesses said gangsters employed to guard the site “insulted and attacked the nuns with batons and one nun was beaten to unconsciousness.”

They said many policemen were present but did nothing to stop the brutal attack.

In a petition to Hanoi authorities in 2016, the nuns said their congregation had taken legal ownership of the 200-square-meter land plot in 1949.

After 1954, when communists controlled northern Vietnam, the government rented a novitiate building on the site for an institute of microbiology. Authorities later divided the site and sold it to other people.

The nuns have asked the government to return the land many times over the years.

In 2016, Hanoi resident Tran Huong Ly hired workers to build a house on the land after telling nuns that local authorities had granted her a building permit and a certificate to use the land.

The government ordered Ly to stop building after the nuns petitioned government authorities to deal with the case.

After being attacked on May 8, Sister Cecilia Pham Duong Quynh and other nuns marched to the headquarters of the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem district to petition the district to stop the construction. They raised banners reading “Stop construction on the land of St. Paul sisters.”

Sister Quynh said officials refused to make any decision on the nuns’ demand.

She said they will continue marching to government bodies to ask them to deal with the illegal construction.

The Vietnam-based Association to Protect Religious Freedom said it “strongly condemns violent actions against the nuns and calls on authorities to probe the attack.”

The association said Hanoi authorities should fairly examine the nuns’ demand to avoid causing a bad influence on religious activities.


Blogger Bui Hieu Vo Jailed for “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda”

Defend the Defenders: On May 5, the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted local blogger Bui Hieu Vo on allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code, according to state media.

In the one-day first-instance hearing, the court sentenced him to four years and six months in prison. According to the Vietnamese law the penalty for the charge is between three and 12 years in prison.

State media reported that Mr. Bui Hieu Vo, 56, started his posts on his Facebook account “Hieu Bui” in 2015 which were harmful for the ruling communist party and its government. He is said to have used the Formosa-caused environmental disaster in April 2016 and the land grabbing in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and other issues  to distort the policies of the party.

On March 17 last year, police in HCM City arrested him and searched his private residence, including his computer, and found 57 articles which they claimed contained  biased content.

The blogger was reported to confess his “wrongdoings” and beg for mercy.

It is unclear whether Vo had been provided with legal counsel during his pre-trial detention and first-instance hearing. There was no information about his family’s presence in the court.

On March 23 last year, one week after the arrest of Bui Hieu Vo and Phan Kim Khanh, a blogger from Thai Nguyen,the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Vietnamto immediately and unconditionally release the two bloggers. “If Vietnam wants to be considered a responsible member of the international community, it should stop treating journalists as criminals and punishing criticism as a crime against the state,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative.

Blogger Bui Hieu Vo has been the 20th activist being convicted so far this year.


Former University Official Arrested on Allegation of Abusing Democratic Freedom

Defend the Defenders: On May 9, authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Thanh Hoa arrested Nguyen Duy Son, a former official atSam Son University, on allegation of ” Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, lawful rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens” under Article 331 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

Mr. Son will likely be kept incommunicado for investigation at least in the next four months, according to the common practice in political cases.

According to state media, from December 2017 and March 2018, Son had used his Facebook account “Nguyen Son” to disseminate information to distort leaders of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam and Thanh Hoa province.

He is said to have gotten information on social networks and then re-post on his Facebook page with additional comments based on incorrect facts to defame state and party officials.

Son was a former official at Sam Son University, which serves students coming from ethnic minorities. He was reportedly fired under unclear circumstance.

Recently, many senior officials in Thanh Hoa province, including the party’s chief and the chairman of the People’s Committee, have reportedly been involved in corruption and adultery. Residents in many communes have been forced to contribute many groundless fees.

Vietnam has used Article 88 and 258 of the 1999 Penal Code or Article 117 and 331 in the 2015 Penal Code to silence government critics. The implementation of these articles in the national security provisions could effectively lead anyone to  face imprisonment.

Son has been the second blogger so far this year to be charged under these provisions. In early January, Hanoi arrested pro-democracy activist and former prisoner of conscience Vu Van Hung and charged him with “inflicting injuries” in a trumped-up politically motivated case, and later sentenced him to one year in prison. His detention shows that Vietnam continues its crackdown on local activists starting from late 2015 with the arrest of prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai and his assistant Ms. Le Thu Ha.

Last year, Vietnam arrested nearly 50 activists on allegations in the national security provisions. Most of them have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy imprisonments of between three and 16 years in jail.

===== May 10 =====

Prisoner of Conscience Nguyen Nam Phong Says He Was Beaten in Pre-trial Detention

Defend the Defenders: Prisoner of conscience Nguyen Nam Phong has said that he was beaten many times by other inmates during his pre-trial detention.

Phong, a driver for Catholic priest Nguyen Dinh Thuc from Dien Chau district, Nghe An province told his family that during his pre-trial detention in Nghi Kim temporary detention facility under the authority of the province’s Department of Public Security, he had to share the same cell with criminals who repeatedly assaulted him.

It is likely that the attacks were reprisal for his activities.

Phong was arrested on November 27 last year on allegation of “resisting on-duty state officials” under Article 330 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code just because of refusing to open his car when plainclothes agents tried to arrest human rights defender and labor activist Hoang Duc Binh on May 15, 2017.

Binh was also repeatedly beaten by criminal suspects during his pre-trial detention from the mid-May of last year until early February this year.

On February 6 this year, the People’s Court of Dien Chau district convicted him and sentenced him to two years in prison while Binh was given 14 years in jail.

During the trial which lasted one day, Phong did not have the courage to tell the torture he had suffered, fearing that he could be beaten more. He likely had not told his lawyer .

Due to the assaults, Phong feels great pain in his head, according to his family.

The torture ended when he was transferred to Xuan Ha prison camp in the neighboring province of Ha Tinh.

Last month, his father passed away but he had not been informed. He knew the bad news when he called his family from the current prison.

Mr. Phong, who escorted priest Thuc when the father assisted Formosa-affected fishermen in seeking justice, is considered aas prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International as well as the coalition of 14 international NGOs, including BPSOS, Defend the Defenders, and Civil Rights Defenders.

===== May 11 =====

Relatives of Jailed Members of Brotherhood for Democracy Barred from Meeting with Foreign Diplomats

Defend the Defenders: On May 11, Vietnam’s authorities blocked many relatives of jailed members of the unsanctioned online group Brotherhood for Democracy, not allowing them to participate in a meeting with foreign diplomats.

Police in Hanoi placed Mrs. Vu Minh Khanh, the wife of jailed prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai, and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang, the wife of imprisoned human rights defender and pro-democracy activist Pham Van Troi, under house arrest.

The daughter of Mr. Nguyen Van Tuc and Mrs. Ly Thi Mai, the wife of Mr. Vu Van Hung were reportedly blocked on their way to the meeting.

Speaking with Defend the Defenders, Mrs. Khanh said her apartment was blocked by uniformed police officers and plainclothes agents in the early morning of Friday and when she tried to go out, they stopped her, saying she could not leave her house that day.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Trang told Defend the Defenders that a group of around ten police officers from the Ministry of Public Security, the Hanoi Department of Public Security and lower levels stumped in her private residence in Chuong Duong commune, Thuong Tin district and told her not to leave her house.

Police officers did not specify a reason for placing her under house arrest, just saying they had received orders from their supervisors.

They kept her inside her house until noon despite strong protest from her. Trang said they rudely requested her two children to go to school.

Defend the Defenders has learned that diplomats from the embassies of the US, Australia, Germany, Sweden and other countries attended the meeting held in a place near the US Embassy in Hanoi. The mother of Ms. Le Thu Ha, wives of Protestant pastor Nguyen Trung Ton and Truong Minh Duc evaded police surveillance and successfully presented at the event.

The event was made few days ahead of the US-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue scheduled in Washington DC on May 17-18. During the meeting, the diplomats were updated on information about the jailed activists from relatives of the rights defenders.

Mr. Troi, Mr. Duc and Mr. Ton were arrested on July 30 last year while Ms. Ha and Mr. Dai were detained on December 16, 2015. On April 24, the People’s Court of Hanoi convicted them on allegation of subversion, and sentenced them to lengthy imprisonments.

Particularly, prominent human rights attorney Dai was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years under house arrest, Mr. Duc and Mr. Ton were given to 12 years in prison and three years under house arrest while Ms. Ha and Mr. Troi were sentenced to nine and seven years in prison, respectively.

Mr. Hung was arrested in early January this year in a trumped-up political case in which he was accused of “inflicting injuries.” On April 12, he was sentenced to one year in prison.

Mr. Ton, Mr. Duc and Mr. Troi reportedly filed their appeals.

The activists are senior members of the unsanctioned organization Brotherhood for Democracy, the main target of Vietnam’s ongoing crackdown on the local dissent.

All of them are considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.

===== May 13 =====

Arrest of Activist Luu Van Vinh Is Arbitrary: WGAD

Defend the Defeners: The detention of Vietnamese pro-democracy activist Luu Van Vinh by authorities of Ho Chi Minh City is arbitrary and demands for his release, states the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD).

In a letter titled “Opinion adopted  by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its eighty-first session, 17-26 April 2018: Opinion No. 35/2018 concerning Luu Van Vinh (Vietnam),” WGAD said it “finds that there was no legal basis established for his arrest and detention under Article 9(3) and (4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”

WGAD made this opinion after receiving complaints from Defend the Defenders about the arrest and detention of Mr. Vinh as well as exchanging notes with the Vietnamese government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Vinh was arrested on November 6, 2016 and charged with “Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code in relation with his involvement in the establishment of the the unsanctioned Coalition for Self-determined Vietnamese People which he formed in mid-July of 2016. He left the organization several days before being arrested. He is still held in pre-trial detention in Ho Chi Minh City.

In Mr. Vinh’s case, WGAD said the Vietnamese government “did not suggest or submit any evidence to demonstrate that Mr. Vinh’s conduct was violent.”

WGAD recalls that holding and expressing opinions, including those which are critical of, or not in line with, official government policy, is protected under international human rights law guaranteeing the freedom of expression enshrined in article 19 of the ICCPR. Similarly, by participating in peaceful protests and by establishing the coalition which aimed to promote democracy, Mr. Vinh was expressing his rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association under Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Articles 21 and 22 of the ICCPR.

The permitted restriction on the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association under Article 19 (3), 21 and 22 (2) of the ICCPR do not apply in the case of Mr. Vinh, said WGAD, adding “Vietnam’s government did not demonstrate how Mr. Vinh’s participation in demonstration and the expression of his views constituted a real threat to national security, public safety or public order, nor why bringing charges under Article 79 of the Penal Code was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to his activities.”

Regarding those activists charged and convicted of subversion, WGAD said as the Vietnamese government “did not provide evidence of any violent actions on the part of petitioners, and that in the absence of such information, the charges and convictions under Article 79 could not be regarded as consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the ICCPR. It requested the Vietnamese government to amend its laws in order to clearly define offences relating to national security and to state what was prohibited without ambiguity.

WGAD found that Article 79 of Vietnam’s 1999 Penal Code is so vague and overly broad that it could result in penalties being imposed on individuals who had merely exercised their rights in a peaceful manner.

Remembering that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the international and national levels” and to meet or assemble peacefully for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights as states in UDHR, WGAD concludes that Mr. Vinh’s deprivation of liberty resulted from the exercise of his rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, as well as his right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, and was contrary to Article 7 of UDHR and Article 26 of ICCPR.

Considering the arrest of Mr. Vinh as arbitrary, WGAD said it “wishes to emphasize that no trial of Mr. Vinh should take place in future.

Based on the information presented by Defend the Defenders, Mr. Vinh’s due process rights have been violated during his lengthy pre-trial detention, nearly 18 months since his arrest on November 6, 2016. If Mr. Vinh could not be tried within a reasonable time, he was entitled to release under Article 9(3) of ICCPR.

WGAD said Mr. Vinh’s incommunicado detention creates the conditions that may lead to violations of the Convention against Torture, and may itself constitute torture or ill-treatment, adding the incommunicado detention of Mr. Vinh violates Article 9, 10 and 11 (1) of UDHR and Article 9 of ICCPR.

The denial of contact between Mr. Vinh and his family for nearly one year also mounts to a violation of the right to have contact with the outside world under rules 43(3) and 58 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules), said WGAD.

WGAD said that Mr. Vinh was denied access to lawyers for nearly one year during his incommunicado detention, including during pre-trial investigation, in violation of his right to legal assistance guaranteed by Article 10 and 11 (1) of UDHR and Article 14(3) of ICCPR.

All persons deprived of their liberty have the rights to legal assistance by counsel of their choice at any time during their detention, said WGAD, adding the denial of access to legal assistance during the investigation is of considerable concern given that Mr. Vinh was facing heavy penalties following prosecution under the national security provisions in Article 79 of the Penal Code.

WGAD concludes that these violations of the right to a fair trial are of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Vinh an arbitrary character.

WGAD states that it is not acceptable to subject family’s members of a detained person to any form of harassment or intimidation and it is the responsibility of the government to protect Mr. Vinh and his family. It urged Vietnam’s government to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations that the authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have harassed Mr. Vinh’s family, which has forced his wife to leave their business and seek alternative employment in order to support her family and to provide him with additional food while he is in detention. It urges Vietnam’s government to prosecute the offenders.

Mr. Vinh’s case is one of several cases brought before WGAD in recent years concerning the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of persons in Vietnam, said the group. It recalls that under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of the rules of international law, may constitute crimes against humanity.

In its conclusion, WGAD confirms that the deprivation of liberty of Luu Van Vinh, being in contravention of Article 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11(1), 19, 20 and 21 (1) of UDHR and Articles 2(1 and 3), 9, 14, 16, 19, 21, 22, 25(a) and 26 of ICCPR, is arbitrary.

It requests Vietnam’s government to take the steps necessary to remedy the situation of Mr. Vinh without delay and bring it into conformity with the relevant international norms, including those set out in UDHR and ICCPR.

The WGAD considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, in particular the risk of harm to Mr. Vinh’s health, the appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Vinh immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparation, in accordance with international law.

WGAD urges Vietnam’s government to ensure a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Vinh and to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.

WGAD requests Vietnam to bring its laws, including Article 79 in the revised Penal Code, into conformity with the recommendations made in the present opinion and with the commitments made by Vietnam under international human rights law.

Mr. Luu Van Vinh, as well as his friend Nguyen Van Duc Do, are listed as prisoners of conscience by the London-based NGO Amnesty International. On November 22, 2016, three weeks after their detention, the U.N. Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia called on Vietnam to release them immediately and unconditionally.

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

WGAD is a body of independent human rights experts that investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention. Arbitrary arrest and detention is the imprisonment or detainment of an individual, by a State, without respect for due process, and is a violation of international human rights law.

WGAD was established by resolution in 1991 by the former Commission on Human Rights. It is one of the thematic special procedures overseen by the UN Human Rights Council, and is therefore a subsidiary body of the UN.