Vietnam May Release Well-known Activist Into Exile in U.S.

Bui Thi Minh Hang at peaceful demonstration against China's violations of Vietnam's sovereignty in East Sea in Hanoi in 2011
Bui Thi Minh Hang at peaceful demonstration against China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in East Sea in Hanoi in 2011

[themify_box style=”BLUE, ANNOUNCEMENT, ROUNDED” ]Vietnam’s communist government may grant amnesty for well-known human rights activist Bui Thi Minh Hang one year earlier before her three-year imprisonment ends but force her to live in exile in the U.S., local bloggers said.[/themify_box]

By Vu Quoc Ngu, February 1, 2016

Vietnam’s communist government may grant amnesty for well-known human rights activist Bui Thi Minh Hang one year before her three-year imprisonment ends but may force her into exile in the U.S., local bloggers said.

According to local activists, Vietnam has offered to allow her to leave the country, the same way it did with other activists including France-trained legal expert Cu Huy Ha Vu and prominent bloggers Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan.

It is unclear whether Ms. Hang will accept the offer which the communist government in Hanoi says is based on humanitarian ground.

If she accepts the offer, Ms. Hang will very unlikely to be allowed to return

to the Southeast Asian country under Communist rule. In such a scenario, her imprisonment will be postponed but not considered completed, bloggers said.

Human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan, who completed his 30-month imprisonment on the trumped-up charge of tax evasion last year, said during his term, security officers made him the same offer many times, however, he rejected them, saying he would remain in Vietnam to fight for multi-party democracy and human rights protection and promotion.

Dr. Vu, who was sentenced to seven years for criticizing Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his government, said the Vietnamese government treats local political dissidents as bargaining chips for exchange of economic benefits with the U.S. and other Western countries.

Ms. Hang, one of the most prominent activists protesting China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea, was arrested in March 2014

when she and other activists visited former political prisoner Nguyen Bac Truyen in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap. Security forces arrested her and two other religious activists Nguyen Van Minh and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and charged them with causing public disorders. In trials which failed to meet international standards for fair trial, she was sentenced to three years in jail for bogus traffic offense.

Hang, who is also a land rights activist, had been harassed by the communist government before. She was detained many times after participating in peaceful anti-China protests in Hanoi and Saigon, and was sent to re-habilitation facility by authorities in the capital city of Hanoi for months in a bid to silence her.

Since her arrest, many legislators and officials from the U.S. and EU countries as well as international human rights bodies have urged Vietnam to release her immediately and unconditionally.

Her family said that Ms. Hang’s health has worsened due to inhumane treatment of prison’s authorities. Last year, she conducted long hunger strike to protest degrading treatments of prison’s authorities against her and other prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Vietnam is holding at least 130 political prisoners while Hanoi always denies to imprisoning any but only law violators.