Prisoner of Conscience Le Dinh Luong Yet Allowed to Meet with Family after 10 Months of Detention on Alleged Subversion

Human rights defender and pro-democracy activist Le Dinh Luong

 

Defend the Defenders, May 8, 2018

Vietnam’s authorities have yet to allow human rights defender Le Dinh Luong to meet with his family since being detained on July 24, 2017 on charge of “Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Xoan, a daughter-in-law of the activist told Defend the Defenders that her family has no information about him since his arrest ten months ago, nor permitted to send him some medical products he needs for some diseases.

Like in other political cases, Mr. Luong has been kept incommunicado during pre-trial detention. His relatives have also been suppressed by police.

In mid Agust last year, his relatives and friends went to the headquaters of the Nghe An province’s Department of Public Security to ask about him, police placed 15 of them, including female, to a closed room and bturally beat them.

One month earlier, four days after the Nghe An police kidnapped Luong and later announced the probe against him, police in Ho Chi Minh City also assaulted Mrs. Xoan and her husband Le Dinh Hieu, son of the detained activist.

Mr. Luong, 53, is a veteran in the war against China’s invasion of Vietnam’s northern region in 1980s. State media reported that Mr. Luong is an extremely dangerous element belonging to the U.S.-based Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party) which is labeled by Vietnamese authorities as a terrorist organization.

According to the Nghe An police, Mr. Luong once called for boycotting the elections of the parliament and local People’s Councils while capitalizing on the environmental disasters caused by Formosa to cause social disorders and instigate demonstrations.

Mr. Luong himself was attacked by undercovered policmen in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong in August 2015 when he visited Tran Minh Nhat, who then completed his sentence on alleged subversion. Many other activists were also beaten in that incident.

Thearrest of Luong is part of Vietnam’s intensified crackdown on local political dissidents, human rights advocates, social activists and online bloggers.Since 2017, more than 50 activists have been arrested and charged with vague articles in the national security provisions such as subversion and “conducting anti-state propaganda” of the Penal Code. Most of them have been convicted and sentenced to severe imprisonments up to 16 years in prison.

Among convicted are prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of probation, human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a well-known blogger with penname Mother Mushroom, who was given ten years in prison, and environmentalist and labor activist Hoang Duc Binh, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

If convicted, Luong face imprisonment of up to life imprisonment or even death punishment, according to the current Vietnamese law.