Binh Thuan Province Jails 30 More Mid-June Protesters

Inside of the courtroom trying 30 mid-June protesters in Binh Thuan on October 31, 2918

 

Defend the Defenders, October 31, 2018

 

On October 31, the People’s Court of Phan Thiet city in Vietnam’s central coastal province of Binh Thuan convicted 30 citizens on allegation of “disrupting public orders” under Article 318 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code for their participation in mid-June protest, state media reported.

The indictment said the group took part in the mass demonstration in front of the provincial People’s Committee headquarters building which caused public disorders. Many protesters were said to demolish the building and throw stones and bricks toward police while others burn police vehicles. Police used water cannon and other hard measures to disperse protesters and arrested numerous demonstrators, media said.

The court found them guilty and sentenced Nguyen Quoc Hue to 3 years and six months, six others to three years, ten others to two years and six months, four others to two years and three months, and remaining nine to two years in prison.

Authorities in Binh Thuan are still investigating other individuals on allegation of demolishing property, disrupting public orders and resisting on-duty state officials, media said.

On June 9-11, tens of thousands of Vietnamese citizens rallied on streets in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Binh Thuan, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and other localities to protest two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security. The first plans to grant long-term leases for foreign companies operating in special economic zones (SEZs) and the second aims to silence online critics.

Vietnam’s security forces were sent to disperse the gatherings. They used violent measures to deal with the peaceful protesters, including water cannons and Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) to suppress peaceful demonstrations. Hundreds of protesters were beaten, detained and charged with “causing public disorders.”

So far, Vietnam has convicted 96 mid-June protesters, sentencing 88 of them to between eight and 54 months in prison and given probation of between five months and two years to the eight remaining protesters.

Vietnam is still holding many other protesters, including eight members of the unsanctioned group Hiến Pháp (Constitution) who were key individuals in the mid-June protest in HCM City.