Trial against Spokesman of Brotherhood for Democracy Nguyen Trung Truc Re-scheduled on Sept 12

Pro-democracy activist Nguyen Trung Truc was beaten by plain clothes agents in Nghe An on July 10, 2016

Defend the Defenders, August 30, 2018


The People’s Court of Vietnam’s central province of Quang Binh has re-scheduled the first-instance hearingagainst Nguyen Trung Truc, spokesman for the unsanctioned group Brotherhood for Democracy, on September 12.

The trial will be held in Dong Hoi city, and is supposed to be open tothe public, according to the organization’s fanpage.

Thesame court had set the trial on August 17but suddenly postponed it five days in advance.

Mr. Truc, 44, was arrested on August 4, 2017 and charged with “carrying out activities to overthrow the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

He had been kept incommunicado since being detained until lastmonth when he was permitted to meet with his lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng to prepare for his defense.The Ho Chi Minh City-based attorney will meet with his client for the second time in the coming days, he told Defend the Defenders.

During the past 12 months, his family has been permitted only to send him some additional food. Like in other political cases, his lawyer has not been allowed to attend interrogations.

Truc has been active in promoting human rights and multi-party democracy in Vietnam, as well as assisting fishermen who have been affected by the environmental disaster in the central coastal region as a result of the discharge of a huge amount of toxic industrial waste by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant located in the central province of Ha Tinh in May 2016.

He has been harassed by Vietnam’s security forces, including being kidnapped and beaten in 2016 when plainclothes agents abducted him and seven others, bringing them to remote areas in Ha Tinh province where they robbed and tortured them before leaving them in a forest area.

Truc is the 8th member of the Brotherhood for Democracy to be arrested and charged with serious crimes under national security provisions in the Penal Code.Others include prominent human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, Protestant pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, engineer Pham Van Troi, veteran journalist and labor activist Truong Minh Duc, English teacher Le Thu Ha, anti-corruption campaigner Nguyen Van Tuc, humanitarian aid Tran Thi Xuan. All of them were convicted on allegation of subversion and sentenced to between seven and 15 years in prison in April-May.

The Brotherhood for Democracy is one of the main targets of the ongoing crackdown of the Vietnamese government on local dissent.In 2017, Vietnam arrested more than 40 activists, and has detained seven government critics so far this year.

Hanoi has also convicted 22activists and40 peaceful protestors so far this year, including Vietnamese American William Nguyen. The communist regime has also detained a number of activists, including Nguyen Trung Linh, Le Anh Hung and Huynh Duc Thanh Binh on allegations of subversion or “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Mr. Truc is expected to be convicted and sentenced to lengthy imprisonment given the recent convictions of activists.

In mid-August, Vietnam’s authorities convicted pro-democracy campaigner and environmentalist Le Dinh Luong on allegation of subversion, and sentenced him to 20 years in prison, the highestsentencegiven for an activist in many years.