U.S. Senator Urges Kerry to Pressure Vietnam on Human Rights

TNS Cassidy

[themify_box style=”blue comment rounded” ]Secretary Kerry should demand Hanoi to have specific measures to improve Ms. Hang’s health and ensure her right to access medical services given inhumane conditions in Vietnamese prisons and degrading treatment against prisoners of conscience, Senator Cassidy said.[/themify_box]

By Vu Quoc Ngu | Aug 6, 2015

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to pressure Vietnam on human rights issue and demand the communist government in Hanoi to release Bui Thi Minh Hang, an imprisoned land rights and religious activist on fabricated allegation.

Secretary Kerry should demand Hanoi to have specific measures to improve Ms. Hang’s health and ensure her right to access medical services given inhumane conditions in Vietnamese prisons and degrading treatment against prisoners of conscience, Senator Cassidy said.

The American legislator’s move was made few days prior to a visit of Kerry to Vietnam with aim to deepen the two countries’ comprehensive partnership established in 2013 during the visit of President Truong Tan Sang to the White House.

Earlier, Senator Cassidy adopted Ms. Hang under the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representative.

Prior to the meeting between President Barack Obama and Vietnamese communist leader Nguyen Phu Trong in the White House on July 8, Senator Cassidy and other members of the Congress sent a joint letter asking him to prioritize human rights.

Hang is a prominent human rights activist and defender of land-lost farmers and religious groups. She is an anti-China activist, participating in dozens of demonstrations against the Chinese violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

She was arrested and charged with “causing public disorder” after she and 21 other activists were beaten and detained while trying to visit human rights lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen.

On August 26th, 2014, she was sentenced to three years in prison. The trial lasted only one day and several witnesses for Hang were physically barred from entering the courthouse.

Although Vietnamese law requires that the trial be held publicly, no member of the public was allowed into the trial.