Vietnam Prominent Political Prisoner Refuses Gov’t Proposal to Live In Exile in U.S.

Ms. Bui Thi Minh Hang at one of numerous peaceful anti-China protests in Hanoi
Ms. Bui Thi Minh Hang at one of numerous peaceful anti-China protests in Hanoi

[themify_box style=”blue, announcement, rounded” ]The government would give her $5,000 and take her from the prison to an international airport where she will take international flights to the U.S.[/themify_box]

By Vu Quoc Ngu, March 01, 2016

Vietnamese prominent political dissident Bui Thi Minh Hang, who is serving her three-year sentence, has refused the government’s proposal of amnesty and live in exile in the U.S., local activists said.

Ms. Ta Minh Tu, a young sister of former political prisoner Ta Phong Tan, said that Vietnam’s communist government has offered to grant amnesty for well-known human rights activist Bui Thi Minh Hang one year earlier before her three-year imprisonment ends in condition that she must leave the country immediately and live in exile in the U.S.

The government would give her $5,000 and take her from the prison to an international airport where she will take international flights to the U.S.

However, the government’s proposal was turned down as Ms. Hang is willing to stay in the country to continue her fighting for pluralistic democracy and human rights, Ms. Tu said.

Blogger Bo Trung, a son of Ms. Hang, confirmed his mother refusal.

In the past few years, Vietnam has forced a number of political dissidents, including France-trained legal expert Cu Huy Ha Vu and prominent bloggers Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan, to live in exile in the U.S. The trio will very unlikely to be allowed to return to the Southeast Asian nation when the communists still hold power. Their imprisonments will be postponed but not considered completed.

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 early 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.