Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Report for September 3-9, 2018: Many Activists Go Missing in Early September as Government Tightens Public Security

 

Defend the Defenders | September 9, 2018

 

Many activists have gone missing in early September when the government tightened public security to deal with online calls for mass demonstration. Among victims are independent journalist Ngo Van Dung, Ms. Doan Thi Hong (with Facebook nickname Xuan Hong), Mr. Pham Minh Tri (with Facebook nickname Pham Vu Phong), Do The Hoa (with Facebook account Bang Linh), Ngo Hoang Chuc (with Facebook account Hoàng Chức) from An Giang, Le Vinh Thach, Ms. Kim Hoan, Tran Thanh Phuong and Nguyen Chi Vung.

Vietnam’s security forces have reportedly arrested around 90 activists and protesters since late August several days prior to the Independent Day (September 2). Most of them were released but a dozen were still in custody. However, police have failed to inform their families about their detentions, triggering concerns about their situation.

On September 4, plainclothes agents in the central province of Nghe An kidnapped physics teacher Tran Huu Dao when he was on his way to the Thai Hoa Town High School. Three kidnappers took him in a taxi and brought him to a remote area and beat him for around ten minutes. They left him in mud and ran away from the scene after destroying his cell phone.

Authorities in Ben Tre province have officially charged local shrimp grower Nguyen Ngoc Anh with “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code. Mr. Anh, 38, who was detained on August 30, will face imprisonment of up to 12 years in prison if is convicted.

Bac Ninh province’s authorities will try anti-corruption fighter Do Cong Duong on allegation of “causing public disorders” under Article 318 of the 2015 Penal Code on September 17. His trial on the second charge of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the code in October.

The People’s Court of Quang Binh province will hold the trial against Nguyen Trung Truc, the spokesman of the unsanctioned group Brotherhood for Democracy, on allegation of subversion on September 12. Meanwhile, the appeal hearing of Mr. Nguyen Van Tuc, former president of the group, is scheduled on September 15. He was convicted on allegation of subversion and sentenced to 13 years in prison and five years under house arrest.

Retired teacher Dao Quang Thuc will go to court on September 19. He was arrested on October 5 last year on allegation of subversion. He faces jail term of up to life imprisonment or even death penalty if is convicted.

Pro-democracy advocate Luu Van Vinh, who was arrested in November 2016 and also charged with subversion, will be tried in November.

Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc continues his hunger strike which started on August 14 in Prison camp No. 6 in the central province of Nghe An. His family and local dissent are very concerned about his health.

===== September 3 =====

Vietnam to Try Anti-corruption Fighter Do Cong Duong on Allegation of Abusing Democratic Freedom in October: Lawyer Son

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Vietnam’s northern province of Bac Ninh will hold the trial against local anti-corruption fighter Do Cong Duong on allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” in October, his lawyer Ha Huy Son informed Defend the Defenders.

The trial, to be carried out by the province’s People’s Court, will be open for the public, said the Hanoi-based attorney, who often defends activists in politically trumped-up cases.

For this allegation under Article 331 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code, Mr. Duong is facing imprisonment of up to seven years, Son said.

On September 10, the People’s Court of Tu Son town will hold the first-instance hearing of Mr. Duong, Ms. Le Thi Thanh Nga, Nguyen Van Trung and Nguyen Van Vui on charge of “Disturbance of public order”under Article 318 of the 2015 Penal Code. The maximum sentence for people convicted on Article 318 will also be seven years in prison, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Mr. Duong, 54, was arrested by the police of Tu Son commune on January 24 this year when he was filming a forced eviction in the commune.

Mr. Duong, who is a land petitioner, became an activist on land issue. Together with other local residents, he filled letters to the state’s leaders to accuse Tu Son town’s government of illegal land seizure.

Duong is also a citizen journalist, producing hundreds of video clips which he has posted on his Facebook accountto report local officials’ corruption and cronyism, including provincial communist leader Nguyen Nhan Chien, who has big houses and has promoted numerous relatives to key positions in provincial agencies. The state-run media has also covered news affirming the information unveiled by Mr. Duong.

Due to his anti-corruption activities, Duong and his family have been persecuted by local authorities. He was summoned by the police for interrogation many times. Police also came to his private residence to threaten him.

His house has been attacked with a stinking concoction of feces, shrimp paste, and petrol, and his children have been discriminated in schools.

Duong’s arrest is likely reprisal for his efforts to fight illegal land grabbing and corruption, said his fellow My while hisattorney lawyer HaHuy Son said authorities in Bac Ninh provinceand Tu Son townare seeking to silence the anti-corruption activist and citizen journalist without respecting the country’s law and the presumption of innocence.

Land grabbing is a thorny problem in Vietnam where all land belongs to the state and local residents only have lease rights. The central government and local governments are authorized to seize any land from citizens for socio-economic development without paying adequate compensation.

In many localities, authorities have grabbed local residents’ land at very low compensation prices and sold it to property and industrial developers at prices much higher.

Thousands of farmers losing their land in that way are gathering in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to demand justice. The land petitioners are treated like second-class residents by the government. They are living in streets and house with cheap renting fees, being subjects of torture and detention by security forces.

Vietnam is among most corrupt nations in the world. According to Trading Economics, the nation scored 35 points out of 100 on the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Index in Vietnam averaged 27.80 points from 1997 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 35 points in 2017 and a record low of 24 points in 2002.

In Vietnam where communists have ruled for decades, the government strictly controls media. Dozens of bloggers and independent journalists have been harassed and jailed.

Vietnam’s press freedom index is ranked at the 175th out of 179 countries in the Reporters Without Borders’ 2017 Report.

===== September 4 =====

Dissident Teacher Tran Huu Dao Kidnapped, Beaten, Plainclothes agents Were Likely Perpetrators

Defend the Defenders: High school teacher Tran Huu Dao from Vietnam’s central town of Thai Hoa, who has dissent view and often voices against human rights violations in the country, has been kidnapped and assaulted by a group of unknown men, the victim told Defend the Defenders.

Mr. Dao said he was detained by three men in civilian clothes when he walked from Phung Nham bus station to his school namely Thai Hoa town High School, at around 8.40 AM of Tuesday. The men came from a taxi car, Dao noted.

The men blocked his hands and closed his mouth, dragging him into the taxi car. They intended to be people detaining debtor in order to make the taxi driver unsuspisious.

During the journey, they continously beat beat him. When the car arrived in a remote area of Nghia Minh commune, they ordered the driver to stop and they took Mr. Dao out. They beat him, knocking him down in a mud, and  continued to assault.

After Dao collapsed into the mud, they took his cell phone and destroyed, and left the scene with the taxi car.

Mr. Dao said it took him around five minutes to wake up from the mud scence. He took a bath from a pond made by buffalos and went to a road to call for help to go back to his school.

Dao said the kidnappers are very professional as they beat him without leaving scratches on his body.

Due to his Facebook posts, Dao has been under threats of members of the Red Flag group which consists of young individuals supporting the communist party and its government.

Last year, Dao rent an apartment near his school to live, but he was forced to leave it and travels 60 km from his parent’s house in Dien Loi commune, Dien Chau district to the school as member of the group threatened to kill him.

However, the kidnappers are likely plainclothes policemen, the victim told Defend the Defenders, adding they acted like professionals with high confidence.

Along with arrests and convictions on controversial allegations in the national security provisions in the Penal Code, Vietnam’s security forces have applied kidnaps and tortures on local dissent.

Around 50 activists have been kidnapped and beaten by plainclothes agents in the past few years, according to Defend the Defenders.

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Blogger Ngo Van Dung Detained while Conducting Live Stream in HCM City’s Center

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have detained independent blogger Ngo Van Dung when he was making live stream program on Facebook in the city’s center, according to his fellows.

Mr. Dung was repotedly arrested at noon of Tuesday and now is held in the police station of Ben Nghe ward, District 1.

It is unclear whether he will face criminal charge or not, activists said.

Six months ago, Dung was detained by the police in his home province of Dak Lak when he was covering news on the demonstration of sacked school teachers in the province.

Police took himand his fellow namely Nguyen Uy Thuy into custody for interrogation for hours and released them on late afternoon of March12. However, policeconfiscated their cell phones the activists used for filming the demonstration.

Meanwhile, in response to online calls of exiled Facebookers for mass demonstration on the occasion of the 73th Independent Day (September 2), security forces in major cities are put on alert.

Hanoi and HCM City are de facto placed under state of emergency as police, including riot police and militia are deployed to patrol large streets to prevent public gatherings. Many streets have been barricaded while numerous activists have been placed de factor under house arrest since late August.

On June 9-11, tens of thousands of Vietnamese rallied on streets in Hanoi, HCM City, Danang, Nha Trang and Binh Thuan and other locations to protest two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security. This was the largest demonstrations in many in the communist nation where spontanous gatherings are not welcomed by the government while participants have been facing harassment and imprisonment.

On June 17, authorities in HCM City detained hundreds of people walking in the city’s center, taking them into custody where most of them were subjects of torture and interrogation for hours.

Vietnam has also convicted around 40 individuals participating in the mass demonstration in mid June on allegation of “causing public disorders,” giving them imprisonments of between eight and 42 months in prison.

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Shrimp Farmer Arrested, Charged with Anti-state Propaganda amid Intensified Crackdown

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre have arrested local shrimp grower Nguyen Ngoc Anh, charging him with “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Particularly, Anh, 38, was detained because of his posts and livestreams in Facebook in which slandered the ruling communist party and its government, according to the state media.

Anh will be held incommunicado for the next four months in the temporary detention facility under the authority of the Ben Tre province’s Police Department, and his family can only supply him with food and other stuffs, police tol his wife Nguyen Thi Chau,

Speaking to Defend the Defenders, Mrs. Chau said her husband was detained at around 11 AM of August 30 when he was on his way to the local government building for a meeting with the communal police. He was summoned by police one day earlier, she said, adding she is not awared of the reason of the summoning.

At the same time, police conducted a search of their house and confiscated his laptop, cell phone, some USBs and documents, Chau said.

He was arrested because he has raised the country’s issues such as human rights violations, China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, environmental pollution, and systemic corruption as well as bad management of the government on socio-economic issues, the wife said.

Mr. Anh graduated from Nha Trang University, majoring in aquaculture. His family moved from Hanoi to Ben Tre ten years ago. They have some shrimp ponds in Binh Hoa Village, Binh Dai commune, Binh Dai district.

Mrs. Chau told Defend the Defenders that she is under great pressure from thelocal authorities after her husband’s arrest. Plainclothes agents are deployed to monitor their house and her activities. She said she will not send her four-year son to school because she is afraid that he may not be able to deal with discrimination of the local authorities and residents.

The arrest of Anh is part of Vietnam’s ongoing crackdown on local dissent which started in late 2015 with the arrest of prominent human rights advocate Nguyen Van Dai and his Le Thu Ha on charge of conducting anti-state propaganda.

Last year, Vietnam arrested and convited 40 activists. It has detained ten activists so far this year, mostly on allegations of anti-state propaganda and subversion in the national security provisions of the Penal Code, and convicted 20 activists with imprisonments of between two and 20 years in prison.

In addition, Vietnam has also detained hundreds of people participating in peaceful demonstrations and imprisoned 35 of them with jail sentences of between eight months and 42 months.

Mr. Anh is facing imprisonment of between five and 20 years in prison, if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.

===== September 6 =====

Vietnam Arrests Around 90 Residents on Security Concern During Early September Holiday

Defend the Defenders:Vietnam’s security forces have arrested around 60 residents on concern of public security during the time before and after the Independent Day (September 2), according to local activists.

The arrests aimed to prevent large-scale demonstrations nationwide during the three-day holiday as many Facebookers, mostly exiled Vietnamese, have called local residents to uprise to overthrow the communist regime which failed to address the country’s problems.

Most of detainees had been released but many of them are still held in custody while the fates of other remain unknown, activists said.

Ngo Thanh Tu, a former member of the Club of Free Journalists, was kidnappedby police in Cam Ranh on August 30. He was taken to police station for interrogation about a leaked party’s document regarding Khanh Hoa province’s measures to prevent public gathering during the national holiday. During the interrogation, Tu was brutally beaten by police officers.

At noon of September 2, Facebooker Le Tung (Facebook nickname Tung Le) conducted livestream near the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica located in District 1. He was detained by police from Nguyen Thai Binh ward who held him for two days for interrogation. In police custody, Tung was falsely accused of stealing properties, and beaten by police. He was released in the evening of September 3. His Facebook account was hacked.

Mrs. Nguyen Thanh Loan and her husband Trinh Van Toan, who were tortured by police on June 17 while being held in Tao Dan Park, were placed under house arrest in many days during the holiday. On September 3, she went out with a plan to go to a supermarket to purchase foodstuff but she was detained by plainclothes agents who took her to the police station in Thanh Loc Ward. In custody, police checked her ID and robbed her cell phone to get call and message history.

She was released after several hours in police station.

In the morning of September 2, Ho Chi Minh City-based dissident Nguyen Van Dieu Linh went to a police station according to the the police’s summoning letter. During interrogation, he suffered a heart stroke and was taken to a hospital in Thu Duc district.

In the morning of next day, independent blogger Ngo Van Dung (with Facebook account Biển Mặn) from the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak went to HCM City. When he was conducting Facebook livestream in the city’s center, he was arrested by police from Ben Nghe ward. Police have not informed his family about his situation and threatened his wife when she came to ask about him. His situation remains unclear.

Activist said Facebooker Thanh Sang was detained in Hiep Binh Chanh ward in Thu Duc district in the evening of September 2. As of September 6, he has still been kept in police station.

Along with being detained or placed under house arrest, activists are facing being attacked by plainclothes agents. Among the victims are outspoken activists Huynh Cong Thuan from HCM City and Tran Huu Dao from Nghe An province.

In the early evening of September 4, Mr. Thuan went home from the Sai Dong Redemptory Church where he works as a charity volunteer. He was attacked by a group of ten thugs near his private residence. Due to the attack, he suffered many severe injuries and was taken to a hospital for urgent treatment.

On September 3, plainclothes agents kidnapped physical teacher Tran Huu Dao when he walked from a bus stop to Thai Hoa High School. The kidnappers dragged him into a taxi and droved to a remote area six kilometers from the scene. During the journey and at the remote area, the kidnappers continously beat him until he collapsed. The attackers destroyed his cell phone before leaving him in a mud area.

On September 1, police came to the private residence of Tran Phuong in Binh Tan district to detaine him and confiscate some of his stufts. He was taken to the police station in Binh Hung Hoa ward, and is still under police custody.

SomeFacebookers Tran Dinh Chau, Bang Linh, Xuan Hong were reportedly detained. However, no information about their detentions was available.

According to human rights activist Tran Bang, one activist who was in police custody from the noon of September 2 until the evening of September 3 said the number of the detainees held in Tao Dan Park is around 50. They were arrested in HCM City’s center, the freed activist said, adding police officers beat a pregnant woman in the fourth month and only stopped when other slammed.

Facebooker Nguyen Tin said police arrested government supporter Nguyen Duy Quoc when he was skatering in HCM City’s center in a bid to attack activists. He was detained by police when he took pictures near the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. Police found that he was equipped with tear gas.

Many activists in HCM City and Hanoi are still under house arrest on September 4. The house of retired teacher Ngo Thu in Thu Duc district was attacked with stones, activists said.

Within a week, police arrested four Facebookers namely Doan Khanh Vinh and Bui Manh Dong from Can Tho City, Nguyen Ngoc Anh from Ben Tre province and Huynh Truong Ca from Dong Thap province. They were accused of posting articles on their Facebook accounts harmful for the ruling communist party and its government, and calling for demonstrations.

Mr. Anh, a shrimp grower, was officially charged with “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code. He is held incommunicado for at least four months and faces lengthy sentence, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Many other activists nationwide have been summoned to police stations for questioning. Among them are well-known human rights defender and critical blogger Huynh Thuc Vy and her husband Le Khanh Duy, former member of the ruling communist party and army officer Le Thuong who left the army and the party several ago and publicly calls for multi-party democracy.

In addition, authorities in the central province of Quang Ngai detained many local residents who were together with around five hundreds of others  in Pho Thach commune in Duc Pho district holding a demonstration on September 2 to protest a waste treatment plant which is dumping waste without treating it properly. The local authorities said they hold nine protesters for criminal prosecution, and imposed administrative fine for 23 others on allegation of causing public disorders and resisting on-duty state officials.

Meanwhile, many foreign-based organizations of overseas Vietnamese have called for mass demonstrations in early September on the occasion of the national holiday. In their calls, they urge local residents to rally to overthrow the incompetent and corrupted communist government which fails to address the country’s problems.

Vietnam’s authorities have vowed not to allow mass demonstrations in the coming days, saying they would apply all measures to prevent and disperse spontanous gatherings at all costs. They place Hanoi and HCM City under de facto state of emergency, with riot police and militia being deployed to key streets and many places being barricaded and closed for visitors. In HCM City’s center, visitors face threat of being arrested if they want to take pictures in public sites.

On August 30, state media reported that security forces had arrested a man Le Quoc Binh with a number of guns. Accordingto State media, the man is a member of the Vietnam Reform Party (Viet Tan), came from Cambodia,and plans to conduct violent acts during the national holiday. However, Viet Tan issued a statement saying Binh is not its member of the organization and that it vows for peacceful means to fight for Vietnam’s democracy and human rights promotion. As long as eleven years ago, Hanoi made similar misleading accusations when theyarrested aVietnamese American couple with weapons entering Vietnam for violent campaign, however, it was not true and Vietnam was forced to release them silently.

The story about Binh is a play of the Vietnamese security forces in a bid to prepare for aggressive responses to public gatherings next week, observers said.

The communist government has detained hundreds of peaceful protestors during and after the mass demonstrationsin mid June and convicted around 40 of them on charge of “causing public disorders” with imprisonments of between eight and 42 months in prison.

===== September 7 =====

Appeal Hearing of Pro-democracy Campaigner Nguyen Van Tuc Set on Sept 14

Defend the Defenders: The Higher People’s Court in Hanoi will hold the appeal hearing of pro-democracy advocate Nguyen Van Tuc, former head of the unsanctioned Brotherhood for Decmoracy, on September 14, Defend the Defenders has learned.

Mr. Tuc, 54, was arrested on September 1, 2017 and charged with subversion under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code. On April 10, 2018, he was convicted by the People’s Court of Thai Binh province which sentenced him to 13 year in prison and five years under house arrest.

According to his daughter who was in the courtroom, Mr. Tuc couldn’t stand up during trial. The doctor checked his blood pressure before the trial and the doctor informed the court that it was quite high (190). The defendant also felt his heart muscles cramping up but the court still went on.

Mr. Tuc also has very bad hemorrhoids and  he had a lot of rectal bleeding during the trial, the family said.

Like other political cases, no activists were allowed to enter the courroom to observe the trial. Authorities in Thai Binh denied the request of Mr. Tuc’s mother to be present in his hearing.

Police were reportedly deployed to block all the roads leading to the court areas to prevent his relatives and supporters to gather near the areas.

Mr. Tuc was held incommunicado detention since being caught until few weeks prior to the trial when he was permitted to meet with his lawyer to prepare for his defense.

In late June, his family told the Redio Free Asia (RFA) that he wassuffering deteriorating health in jail some nine months after his arrest.

“When he was arrested, his hair was much blacker and now it has turned quite white. His heart disease makes him unable to sleep and eat in the current hot weather,” his wife Bui Thi Re told RFA.

“He is jailed in a room without adequate ventilation and has only one small hand-made fan,” she said, adding “he looks so frail.”

This is the second imprisonment of Mr. Tuc. He had previously spent four years in prison after being convicted in 2008 of conducting anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the Penal code. He was freed in 2012 after serving his full term.

Inorder to keep the nation under a one-party regime, the communistgovernment does not tolerate dissent, often using Article 79 and others in the national security provisions of the Penal Code to silence activists.

The London-based Amnesty Internationalhas listed Mr. Tuc among nearly 100 prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. The right group once called on Hanoi to drop the charges against Tuc and otheractivists of theBrotherhood for Democracy

===== September 8 =====

Many Facebookers Disappeared in Ho Chi Minh in Early September amid Growing Crackdown

Defend the Defenders: Many Facebookers have gone missing in Ho Chi Minh since early September when the local government has imposed many measures to tighten public control to deal with online calls for mass demonstration, Defend the Defenders has learned.

Among victims are Dak Lak province-based independent journalist Ngo Van Dung, Ms. Doan Thi Hong (with Facebook nickname Xuan Hong), Mr. Pham Minh Tri (with Facebook nickname Pham Vu Phong), Do The Hoa (with Facebook account Bang Linh), Ngo Hoang Chuc (with Facebook account Hoàng Chức) from An Giang, Le Vinh Thach, Ms. Kim Hoan, Tran Thanh Phuong and Nguyen Chi Vung.

Mr. Ngo Van Dung was reportedly arrested on September 4 when he went and took pictures in District 1. According to his Facebook livestream made in the morning of Tuesday, he and his friend were riding on a motorbike before getting detained by police, likely from Ben Thanh ward.

Informed about her husband’s detention, Mrs. Kim Nga went from their native province of Dak Lak to HCM City to seek for him. Police in Ben Thanh ward confirmed that they detained him but deported him to Dak Lak. However, authorities in Dak Lak said he is still held by police in HCM City.

Five days after his disappearance, Mr. Dung’s family has not been awared of his situation.

According to Radio Free Asia, Ms. Doan Thi Hong and Mr. Pham Minh Tri were arrested by police from Dong Hung Thuan ward, District 12 on September 2. However, their families got no arrest confirmations from the ward and district police.

Another Facebooker Thanh Sang from Dak Lak province was also detained by police in Hiep Binh Phuoc ward, Thu Duc district on September 2. He was kept in police’s custody until the noon of September 7. He was said to be forced to provide the password of his Facebook account Thanh Sang to police.

The number of abductions of activists made byVietnam’ssecurity forces has been increased recently, and many ofkidnapped activists have been criminally charged later while others were released without being prosecuted.

On September 3, plainclothes agents in the central province of Nghe An kidnapped physical teacher Tran Huu Dao when he walked from a bus stop to Thai Hoa High School in the town of Thai Hoa. The kidnappers dragged him into a taxi and droved to a remote area six kilometers from the scene. During the journey and at the remote area, the kidnappers continously beat him until he collapsed. The attackers destroyed his cell phone before leaving him in a mud area.

On September 1, HCM City’s police came to the private residence of Tran Phuong in Binh Tan district to detain him and confiscate some of his stufts. He was taken to the police station in Binh Hung Hoa ward, and is still under police custody.

Earlier, on August 15, Vietnam’s authorities kidnapped former political prisoner Nguyen An and held him in a secret place for nearly two weeks until August 27.

According to local activists, Vietnam’s security forces have detained around 90 activists from late August, and released most of them but still hold some in custody, however, Defend the Defenders couldnt verify the information. The number included 31 detainees in the demonstration in Duc Pho district in the central province of Quang Ngai to protest waste dumping in the location which affects the lives of the local residents.

Vietnam has also conducted a number of arrests of activists in recent months. On July 7, police in HCM City detained Huynh Duc Thanh Binh, Tran Long Phi and Vietnamese American Michael Nguyen Minh Phuong. Later, they charged Binh with subversion, and still hold the two guys without charges.

In late August and early September, Vietnam also detained many Facebookers.Within a week, police arrested four Facebookers namely Doan Khanh Vinh and Bui Manh Dong from Can Tho City, Nguyen Ngoc Anhfrom Ben Tre province and Huynh Truong Ca from Dong Thap province. They were accused of posting articles on their Facebook accounts harmful for the ruling communist party and its government, and calling for demonstrations.

Mr. Anh, a shrimp grower, was arrested on August 30 and later charged with “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code. He is held incommunicado for at least four months and faces lengthy sentence, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Authorities in Hanoi and HCM City as well as others localities are taking different measures to prevent mass demonstrations amid call for rallying on streets to overthrow the communist government in early September on the occasion of the Independent Day (September 2). Most of the calls have been made by exiled Vietnamese who blame the communist regime of failing to address the country’s issues, including weak responses to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, systemic corruption, serious environmental pollutions, and human rights violations.

Along with sending plainclothes agents and militia to station near private residences of local dissidents, authorities in Hanoi and HCM City deployed large number of police, including riot police, and militia to patrol in major streets and key locations, effectively placing the cities in the state of emergency. In places usualy for walk, police were ready to arrest any if they suspected that individuals intend to join peaceful demonstrations.

In mid June, tens of thousands of Vietnamese rallied on streets in Hanoi, HCM City and other localities to protest two biils Speical Economic Zones and Cyber Security. The communist-dominated parliament passed the second bill on June 12 but decided to delay the discussion and approval of the first bill to 2019.

During and after the protests, security forces detained hundreds of demonstrators, many of them were subjects of police torture. Around 40 demonstrators have been convicted and sentenced to between eight and 42 months in prison. Many of them were beaten upon detention and tortured during interrogation.

===== September 9 =====

Trial against Retired Teacher Dao Quang Thuc on Subversion Scheduled on Sept 19

Defend the Defenders: The People’s Court of Vietnam’s northern province of Hoa Binh will conduct a trial against retired teacher Dao Quang Thuc on subversion on September 19, his family has informed Defend the Defenders.

According to the court’s notice sent to his family on September 8, the court will be open for public, his daughter Dao Thi Trang told Defend the Defenders, adding the court also summoned his wife and son as witnesses of the trial.

The first-instance hearing of Mr. Thuc will be made more than 11 months after his arrest. He was held incommunicado until recently when he was permitted to meet with his lawyer Nguyen Ha Luan to prepare for his defense.

The primary school teacher was arrested on October 5 last year on allegation of “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

During his pre-trial detention, hehas been tortured and inhumanely treated, the family informed Defend the Defenders.

He was reportedly beaten by interrogation officers and suffered significant injuries so police transferred him to a hospital for treatment of these injuries.

Along with being tortured, her father was left without food for long time, Trang said.

In the first two time being held in the temporary detention facility under the authority of the Hoa Binh province’s Police Department, the family was not permitted to supply food nor send money for him to purchase food from the detention facility’s canteen, as other detainees can, Trang said, noting her fatherwas allowed to receive the family’s supports from the third month.

Trang said once she was invited to go to the detention facility to work with police about her father’s activities, she met a drunken officer namely Tu who told her that he had just conducted an interrogation with her father.

Due to inhumane treatment by police, her father has suffered a number of health issues including mental breakdown and high blood pressure, Trang told Defend the Defenders, adding he was healthy in September 2017, one month after retiring as a teacher in Trieu Phuc Lich primary school, Toan Son commune, Da Bac district.

Trang said police also summoned her mother and brother to the police station where they forced them to talk about her father’s activities despite having no knowledge of them.

Mr. Thuc is expected to be convicted and sentenced to lengthy imprisonment given the jail sentences given to local dissidents in recent months. The highest punishment for subversion is life imprisonment or even death penalty, according to current Vietnam’s law.

Nine activists have been convicted on allegation of subversion so far this year, and sentenced to between seven and 20 years in prison. Since the begining of 2017, Vietnam has imprisoned 22 activists and detained 14 others on allegation of criminal charges of the national security provisions in the Penal Code.

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Vietnam Likely to Try Pro-democracy Advocate Luu Van Vinh in November

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities may bring pro-democracy campaigner Luu Van Vinh to court to try him on allegation of subversion in November, his wife Nguyen Thi Thap has told Defend the Defenders.

Speaking to Defend the Defenders, Mrs. Thap said she learned the news from his lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng. In the latest meeting, her husband’s health is good, she noted.

Mr. Vinh, 51, was arrested on November 6, 2016 and charged with “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

He was held incommunicado for one year, including five months in Phan Dang Luu temporary detention facility before being transferred to Chi Hoa detention facility in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mr. Vinh’sarrest was said to be linked to the Coalition for Self-determined Vietnamese People. Mr. Vinh founded the coalition in mid-July last year and became the president of the organization which aims to end the communists’ political monopoly. All major issues of the country should be decided by the people via referendums, according to its founding statement. However, Vinh was reported to have left the coalition a few days before being detained.

After Vinh’s detention, Amnesty International issued a statement calling on Vietnam’s government to immediately and unconditionally release him and his friend NguyenVan Duc Do and Buddhist monk Phan Trung.

In May 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a statement saying the arrest and detention of Mr. Vinh are arbitrary, and urges Vietnam’s government to release him immediately and unconditionally.

For more information onMr. Vinh’s case, please visit Defend the Defenders’ archive.

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