First-instance Hearing of President of Vietnam Republican Party Nguyen Viet Dung Postponed due to Absence of Lawyers

Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung and his fellow Do Thanh Van were beaten by thugs after participating in peaceful anti-China protest on March 14, 2017

Defend the Defenders, March 28, 2018

Authorities in Nghe An province have postponed the first-instance hearing of Nguyen Viet Dung, the founder and president of the unregistered Vietnam Republican Party, which was scheduled on March 28.

The reason of the move is the absence of two lawyers Ngo Anh Tuan and Le Kha Thanh. The first attorney has his own wedding today and asked the People’s Court of Nghe An to hold the trial of Dung to another day.

The court said that the trial will be re-scheduled on April 12.

Mr. Nguyen Viet Hung, the father of the defendant, said he was allowed to enter the court’s building and saw his son who is healthy.

Dung, a former prisoner of conscience, was kidnapped by plainclothes agents in his home province of Nghe An on September 27, 2017. Later, he was charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. Witnesses reported that he was brutally beaten by kidnappers during the abduction.

On May 26, one day prior to the planned trial of Dung, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on Vietnam to drop all charges against Dung and release him immediately.The New York-based organization also condemned Vietnam’s use of controversial articles including Articles 79 and 88 in the national security provisions of the Penal Code to silence local political dissidents, human rights defenders and social activists.

For details of the case of Dung, please go to our website:http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/category/nguyen-viet-dung/

Meanwhile, Vietnam will try prominent human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and five key members of the unsanctioned Brotherhood for Democracy namely Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Le Thu Ha on allegation of subversion under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code.

Vietnam continues its ongoing crackdown on local activists which started in late 2015 and became hardest last year with arrests of at least 45 activists and conviction of around 20 with lengthy sentences of between three and 16 years in prisons.