Many Vietnamese Activists under House Arrest One Day Ahead of Open Trial against Two Pro-democracy Fighters, One Detained on Wednesday

Mr. Tran Anh Kim in the previous trial

By Defend the Defenders, December 15, 2016

Authorities in many Vietnamese localities have been deploying local security forces to the private residence of activists, putting them under de facto house arrest one day prior to the open trial against two pro-democracy campaigners, the victims have complained on social networks.

Vu Quoc Ngu, chief executive officer of non-profit human rights organization Defend the Defenders, said the police in Thanh Tri district, Hanoi, sent a group of five plainclothes agents to station near his house in the early morning of Thursday.

Blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy, vice chairman of the unsanctioned Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam, said his house was also placed under the surveillance of local police. However, he left his house earlier and headed to the northern province of Thai Binh where the trial will be held on Friday.

Blogger Le Anh Hung, who already left his house in Thanh Xuan district, said local police came and told his mother that he should stay at home; otherwise he would be arrested.

In the central province of Nghe An, police detained former political prisoner Tran Duc Thach on Wednesday to Dien Chau district police. His family said that Thach is still under detention. The detention may be related to the trial against the two activists.

Vietnam’s authorities continue to prevent relatives and friends, as well as other activists, to attend so-called “open trials” against dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders. In March, the Ministry of Public Security issued a circular banning people from gathering near courtrooms, especially during political trials.

In many open trials against local activists, Vietnam’s authorities have detained and even beaten many activists who attempted to come and support the defendants.

Meanwhile, the People’s Court in Thai Binh will hold its first hearing against Mr. Kim and Mr. Tung, two former prisoners of conscience, on Friday on allegations that they conducted attempts to “overthrow the state” under Article 79 of the Penal Code.

The two activists are facing heavy sentences according to the country’s law. For further details of the case, please see our previous report at:  http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/2016/12/06/vietnam-to-try-two-pro-democracy-activists-after-nearly-15-months-of-detention/