Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly for October 1-7, 2018: Hanoi Continues Relentless Persecution, Sentencing Five Activists to 57 Years of Prison

 

Defend the Defenders | October 7, 2018

 

Vietnam’s communist regime has continued its relentless persecution against local dissents by sentencing five activists to a total 57 years in prison and 15 years of probation.

On October 5, the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City found pro-democracy campaigners Luu Van Vinh, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Nguyen Van Duc Do, Tu Cong Nghia and Phan Trung (Venerable Nhat Hue) guilty of “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s Penal Code.

Particularly, Mr. Vinh was given 15 years in prison, Mr. Hoan- 13 years, Mr. Do- 11 years, Mr. Nghia- 10 years and Mr. Trung- eight years in prison. In addition, every was given three years of probation after completing their prison sentences.

The activists, held in police’s custody since their arrest in November 2016, were convicted for a plan to set up the unsanctioned organization Vietnam National Coalition which aims to promote multi-party democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

In the so-called open trial, relatives of the defendants were not allowed to enter the courtroom but obseversed the trial in an adjacient room. Foreign diplomatic corps, including the US Embassy and the EU Delegation, were denied of sending their representative to the first-instance hearing for observation. The defendants’ defenses prepared by their lawyers and themselves were not respected by the judge.

Few hours after the trial, Amnesty Internation issued a statement  to condemn the activists’ conviction, saying this cruel and senseless ruling is clearly aimed at stifling people’s right to speak their mind. The London-based human rights group has called for their immediate and unconditional release.

On October 5, more than one month after their abduction, the families of bloggers Ngo Van Dung (Facebooker Ngo Van Dung)  and Ho Dinh Cuong ((Facebooker Văn Cương Hồ) received notices from HCM City’s police which state that they were arrested by the agency and charged with “disruption of security” under Article 118 of the 2015 Penal Code. They are facing imprisonment of up to 15 years if are convicted.

Mr. Cuong and Mr. Dung are two of nine members of the unsanctioned group Hiến Pháp (Constitution) arrested in a raid of HCM City’s police early September which aims to prevent peaceful demonstrations on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day. Huynh Truong Ca (Facebooker Huỳnh Trương Ca) was arrested on September 1 and 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 while five other members named Ms. Doan Thi Hong (Facebooker Xuân Hồng), Ms. Tran Hoang Lan (Facebooker Tran Hoang Lan), Mr. Do The Hoa (Facebooker Bang Lĩnh), Mr. Hung Hung (Facebooker Hung Hung), Mr. Tran Phuong were still in police custody without being charged. Only Mr. Pham Thao (Facebooker Tâm Tâm Nguyen) was released after being questioned for several days.

Hiến Pháp was established on June 16, 2017, striving to educatepeople abouthuman rights as well as political and civil rights by disseminating Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution among citizens. Its members were leading figures in the mass demonstrationon June 10 in HCM City which aimed to protest the Vietnamese parliament’s plan to approve two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security.

The police in HCM City have also informed the family of human rights activist Hoang Thi Thu Vang that she was arrested and probed for allegation of “disrupting security” under Article 118 of the 2015 Penal Code. Ms. Vang, 52, an activist working for enhancing food safety, was said to participate in the mass demonstration on June 10. She was arrested by security forces on September 3.

With the new arrests and convictions in recent weeks, the number of Vietnamese prisoners of conscience rose to 246, consisting of 224 convicted activists and 21 others in pre-trial detention and one under house arrest (Venerable Thich Quang Do), according to the July-September report of Now!Campaign, a coalition of 14 international and domestic NGOs.

The Higher People’s Court in Hanoi will hold the appeal hearing of pro-democracy activist and environmentalist Le Dinh Luong on October 18. Mr. Luong was unfairly convicted on subversion in mid-September and sentenced to the high record of 20 years in prison and five years of probation.

The People’s Court of Bac Ninh province will hold the first-instance hearing of local anti-corruption activist and citizen journalist Do Cong Duong on allegation of “abusing demcratic freedom” under Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code. He is facing imprisonment of up to seven years after being given four years in prison for the charge of “disrupting public order” under Article 318 due to his filming a forced land grabbing case in Tu Son town in January.

Authorities in HCM City are still holding Vietnamese American Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, Tran Long Phi and Huynh Duc Thinh in detention without announcing their charges. The three individuals were arrested in early July, together with Mr. Thinh’s son named Huynh Duc Thanh Binh, who was officially alleged of subversion under Article 109 of the 2015 Penal Code. Vietnam’s security forces are also intimidating their relatives by pressuring on their families and even assaulting a relative of Mr. Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen after she came to the temporary detention facility of HCM City police to provide some food for him.

===== October 1 =====

Appeal Hearing of Democracy Activist Le Dinh Luong Set on October 18

Defend the Defenders: The Higher People’s Court in Hanoi will carry out the appeal hearing of environmentalist and democracy activist Le Dinh Luong on October 10, one month after the People’s Court of Nghe An convicted him on allegation of subversion and gave him the record high sentence of 20 years in prison and five years of probation.

The appeal hearing will be carried out in a courtroom of the People’s Court of Nghe An, Vinh city, the same courtroom used for the first-instance hearing, according to a notice sent to his lawyer Ha Huy Son.

In the first-instance hearing which lasted only several hours in the morning of August 16, the court found the 53-year-old activist guilty of “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. The People’s Procuracy proposed a punishment of 17 years of jail, however, after a long dispute with the defendants’ lawyers, judge Tran Ngoc Son decided to give him  the most severe imprisonment given to a political prisoner in the past five years.

Lawyers Ha Huy Son and Dang Dinh Manh provied that their client is innocent as his activities are in line with the Vietnamese law and international human rights law while the defendant affirmed that he acted to protest China’s violations of the country’s sovereingty, protect the environment against Formosa, and object wrongdoings of local corrupted officials and he is proud of them.

Only Mr. Luong’s wife and younger brother were permitted to enter the courtroom while others were forced to stay away from the court’s areas. No foreign diplomats were allowed to attend the trial which was open for public.

Mr. Luong, who was arrested in late July last year, is among 11 activists convicted on subversion since 2017. He was given the most severe jail term while ten others were sentenced to between seven and 15 years in prison and up to five years of house arrest for the same charge.

He has been held incommunicado since being arrested until late July when his lawyers got approval from the People’s Procuracy to meet with him to prepare for his defense.

Mr. Luong, a veteran in the war against China’s invasion of Vietnam’s northern region in 1980s, was arrested on July 24, 2017. 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 under-covered policemen 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.After his detention, his relatives were also brutally beaten by police forces twice.

In late July, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on Vietnam’s communist regime to drop all politically-motivated charges against Mr. Luong and release him immediately and unconditionally.

“Vietnamese authorities frequently employ fabricated political charges to punish activists for being affiliated with non-communist groups or parties critical of the government,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“Le Dinh Luong is facing prison for protesting the dumping of toxic waste and other environmental disasters that the government should be doing something about,” he noted.

“Vietnamese police routinely deprive detained rights activists and bloggers of access to lawyers and family members for months, and then only give their lawyers a very short time to prepare the case before trial,” Robertson said, adding “Fundamental change is needed in Vietnam’s justice system, but for the needed reform there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

On August 15, one day prior to the trial against him, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Operations  Clare Algar said in the organization’s press release that “For peacefully campaigning on behalf of fishermen affected by an environmental disaster, Le Dinh Luong could face a life sentence or even the death penalty. This is a patently unjust and politically-motivated case that should be dropped and Le Dinh Luong must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

After the trial, the US Department of State expressed its deep concern about its outcome, saying that the trend of increased arrests and harsh sentences for peaceful activists in Vietnam is troubling. It has called on

Vietnam’s communist regime to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and assemble peacefully without fear of retribution.

The US also urges the Vietnamese government to ensure its actions and laws, including the Penal Code, are consistent with the human rights provisions of Vietnam’s constitution and its international obligations and commitments.

Given the fact that few convicted political activists have received sentence reduction in their appeal hearings, Mr. Luong has small chance to get lighter imprisonment in his upcoming appeal hearing.

===== October 2 =====

HCM City-based Female Activist Charged with Disruption of Security, Facing Lengthy Imprisonment

Defend the Defenders: Authorities in Vietnam’s southern economic hub Ho Chi Minh City have arrested local activist Hoang Thi Thu Vang (Facebooker Hoàng Thu Vang) and charged her with “Disruption of security” under Article 118 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

According to the city’s police notice dated on September 14 that her family received today (October 2), she is held in the temporary dêtntion facility under the authority of the city’s Department of Police.

It is likely her pri-trial detention will last four month at least and she will be held incommunicado, not allowed to meet with her lawyers and relatives during the pre-trial detention, a common practice Vietnam’s police apply in politically motivate cases.

Mr. Vang, 52, faces imprisonment of up to 15 years in prison, if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Ms. Vang, who advocates for enhancing food safety, was reportedly arrested on September 3 during the occasion of the country’s Independence Day (September 2). She has shared and posted numerous articles about the country’s issues. She was said to participate in the mass demonstration in HCM City in mid-June.

During the first week of September, Vietnam’s security forces arrested and kidnapped dozens of activists in a bid to prevent mass protests. Of the detainees, four activists were convicted on allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 and sentenced to between 15 and 30 months in prison, one was charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code. Seven members of the unsanctioned group Hien Phap (Constitution) are still held incommunicado as the police in HCM City have yet informed their families about their arrests, detentions and charges.

In order to keep the country under a one-party regime, the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam and its government has intensified crackdown on local dissent and online bloggers.

So far this year, Vietnam has arrested 24 activists and sentenced 33 human rights defenders to a total 225 years and six months in prison and 56 years of probation. Environmentalist and democracy activist Le Dinh Luong was given the record lengthy sentence of 20 years in prison and five years of probation.

In addition, the communist regime has convicted 60 protesters on allegation of “disrupting public order” under Article 318 of the Penal Code, sentencing 51 of them to between eight months and 54 months in prison and giving eight of them probation of between five and 18 months.

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Vietnam to Try Anti-corruption Activist Do Cong Duong for Second Charge on October 12

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” on October 12, his daughter Do Lan Anh has informed Defend the Defenders.

The trial, to be carried out by the province’s People’s Court, will be open for the public, said Ms. Lan. Hanoi-based attorney Ha Huy Son, who often defends activists in politically trumped-up cases, will be Mr. Duong’s lawyer in this case again.

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

On September 10, the People’s Court of Tu Son town convicted Mr. Duong on charge of “disrupting public order” and sentenced him to four years in prison in the trial which failed to meet international standards for fair trial, according to lawyer Son.

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 account to 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 his attorney lawyer Son said authorities in Bac Ninh provinceand Tu Son town are 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.

===== October 4 =====

Relative of Detained Vietnamese American Assaulted after Visiting Him in HCM City-based Detention

Defend the Defenders: Plainclothes agents have assaulted a relative of Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese American who was detained by Vietnam’s security forces in early July, after she visited him in the temporary detention facility under the authority of Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department.

The incident happened on September 6, not far from the temporary detention facility which is located in Phan Dang Luu street, Binh Thanh district. The attackers riding on several motorbikes chased her when she left the facility, kicking her motorbike and knocking her down on street, activist Tran Van Long told Defend the Defenders.

Due to the assault, one of hear legs was broken, said Mr. Long, the father of young activist Tran Long Phi, who was also arrested together with Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen. The victim was scared and kept the assault in secret until recently when she shared the news on the attack with him nearly one month after being attacked, Long noted.

In the first week of July, Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen, Tran Long Phi, Huynh Duc Thanh Binh went to visit the central cities of Hue and Danang. When they returned to HCM City, they were followed by plainclothes agents.

On July 7, they went missing as their relatives and friends couldn’t contact with them. Next day, police arrested Huynh Duc Thinh, the father of Huynh Duc Thanh Binh.

In late July, the police in HCM City gave a notice to Binh’s family, saying he is charged with subversion under Article 109 of the 2015 Penal Code. He is facing a life imprisonment or even the capital punishment if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law. His lawyer is denied of participating in his interrogation, the family said.

Police still hold Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen, Huynh Duc Thinh and Tran Long Phi incommunicado without announcing their charges.

Mr. Long said his family is permitted to send food and clothes to the facility for his son. The family has yet to receive an arrest warrant and a detention order in his case.

Meanwhile, authorities in Bao Loc district, Lam Dong province have intimidated the family of Huynh Duc Thinh, a former political prisoner. Police raid his agricultural shop and regularly conduct administrative checkings in order to halt its operations.

Mr. Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen’s family is in the US. He visited his native Vietnam in early July and got arrested.

Abduction of activists is a common practice implemented by Vietnam’s security forces in recent years.

In the first week of September, the police in HCM City also kidnapped eight members of the unregistered group Hiến Pháp (Constitution) namely Ngo Van Dung, Doan Thi Hong, Do The Hoa, Tran Phuong, Tran Hoang Lan, Hung Hung and Ho Dinh Cuong and arrested Huynh Truong Ca for their participation in the mass protest in mid June. Ca was charged with “making, storing, [or]spreading information, materials, [or] items for the purpose of opposing the government” under Article 117 of the Penal Code. Police hold all of them in custody without informing their families about their arrests and detentions.

In a bid to silence dissidents and bloggers, Vietnam has arrested 24 activists so far this year. The communist regime has also convicted 33 activists, sentencing them to a total 225.5 years in prison and 56 years of probation, according to Defend the Defenders’ statistics.

===== October 5 =====

Five Pro-democracy Campaigners Sentenced to Total 57 Years in Prison

Defend the Defenders: The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City has convicted five pro-democracy campaigners namely Luu Van Vinh, Nguyen Van Duc Do, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Phan Trung (Venerable Thich Nhat Hue) and Tu Cong Nghia on subversion allegation, sentencing them to a total 57 years in prison and 15 years of probation.

In the first-instance hearing which started at 8:00 AM and ended at 2:40 PM on October 5, the court found the five activists guilty of “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

Particularly, Mr. Vinh was sentenced to 15 years, Mr. Hoan- 13 years, Mr. Do- 11 years, Mr. Nghia- ten years and Buddhist monk Trung was given eight years. In addition, each was given three years of probation afterward.

In the so-called open trial for public, only one relative of every defendant was allowed to enter the courtroom. Nguyen Thi Yen Nhi, the niece of Mr. Do, and her husband Pham Ngoc An were detained by police when they were on their way to the court areas. All the roads led to the court areas were blocked by police.

The US’s Embassy and the EU’s Delegation in Vietnam had requested permission to send their diplomatic representatives to attend the trial, however, their requests were denied, Defend the Defenders has learned.

Vinh and his four friends were arrested in November 2016 and held in pre-trial detention since then. Their arrests and detentions were linked to their plan to establish the Vietnam National Coalition which is expected to work for multi-party democracy and fair election to end the political monopoly of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

Vinh and Do were reportedly beaten during their arrests.

In June 2016, Vinh, 51, set up the Vietnam National Self-determination Coalition and become its president. However, he left the organization several days before being arrested.

Some activists said he and other activists had a plan to launch the Vietnam National Coalition. However, he was arrested before the group’s debut.

All the five activists were held incommunicado around one year after being detained.

Vinh and Do were allowed to meet with their lawyers few weeks prior to their trial while under pressure of police, the three others were said to deny the attorneys on their choices.

Mr. Hoan rejected the appointed lawyer, said Dang Dinh Manh, the lawyer of Mr. Vinh.

During the trial, Mr. Vinh and Mr. Do reaffirmed their innocence while Mr. Hoan and Mr. Nghia said they were forced to make false confession during interrogation, said the Saigon-based lawyer.

On October 4, one day prior to the trial, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling Vietnam’s communist regime to release them without conditions.

This prosecution shows there is no end in sight when it comes to the government stamping down on calls for political pluralism, democracy, or respect for rights,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These five advocates are heading to prison for a long time simply for daring to criticize the Communist Party.”

In late April, 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention officially said that the arrest of Luu Van Vinh was arbitrary and urged the Vietnamese government to release him and compensate him for illegal arrest and detention in accordance with international law.

The arrests and detentions of Vinh and his four friends are part of Vietnam’s ongoing crackdown on local dissent amid increasing social disatisfaction.

In order to keep the country under a one-party regime, the security forces are striving not to allow the formation of opposition parties. Dozens of activists who advocate for multi-party election have been sentenced to lengthy imprisonments for subversion allegations.

So far this year, Vietnam has arrested 24 activists and sentenced 38 human rights defenders with a total 282.5 years in prison and 81 years of probation.

The communist nation is holding 246 prisoners of conscience, according to NoW!Campaign, a coalition of 14 domestic and international NGOs, including Defend the Defenders, Boat People SOS (BPSOS), Civil Rights Defenders (CRD) and Front Line Defenders (FLD).

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Two Members of Unsanctioned Group Hiến PhápCharged with “Disruption of Security,” Accusation against Five Others Unknown

Defend the Defenders: Two members of the unregistered group Hiến Pháp out of eight members being kidnapped in early September have been charged with “disruption of security” and are facing severe imprisonment if are convicted.

The families of Ho Dinh Cuong (Facebooker Văn Cương Hồ) and Ngo Van Dung (Facebooker Ngo Van Dung) have informed Defend the Defenders that they received notices about them from the police of Ho Chi Minh City on October 5, more than one month from the days they were kidnapped by security forces.

According to the police’s notices dated on September 21, the two were “had acts which disrupt security” and they are now in pre-trial detention in the temporary detention facility of the city’s police.

According to the Vietnamese police’s practice in politically-motivated cases, they will be kept in detention for at least four months. They will not be permitted to meet with their lawyers and families until investigation is completed.

They are facing imprisonments of up to 15 years in prison, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Mr. Dung is a citizen journalist covering news on various topics, including corruption, environmental pollution, China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, and human rights abuse.

He was arrested in HCM City on September 4 while conducting a live stream which was posted on his Facebook account. Several hours later, his wife received a SMS message from his cell phone’s number that he was arrested by police and held in Ben Nghe ward’s police station.

His family had received any notice from the police of HCM City until October 5, the wife confirmed. She went to different units of the city’s police but received no confirmation about his arrest and detention.

Two week ago, she went to the temporary detention facility of the city’s police and the facility’s authorities verbally admitted that they are holding him.

Mr. Dung and Mr. Cuong are two out of eight members of the unregistered group Hiến Pháp (Constitution) who were kidnapped on September 1-4. Others are Ms. Doan Thi Hong (Facebooker Xuân Hồng), Ms. Tran Hoang Lan (Facebooker Tran Hoang Lan), Mr. Do The Hoa (Facebooker Bang Lĩnh), Mr. Hung Hung (Facebooker Hung Hung), Mr. Tran Phuong and Mr. Pham Thao (Facebooker Tâm Tâm Nguyen). The last activist was released after being questioned for several days.

The police in HCM City have yet to inform the families of the other five kidnapped activists about their arrests, detention and charges.

On September 1, Vietnam’s security forces also also arrested another member of the group, Mr. Huynh Truong Ca (Facebooker Huỳnh Trương Ca), on September 1 and charged 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.

Hiến Pháp was established on June 16, 2017, striving to educatepeople abouthuman rights as well as political and civil rights by disseminating Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution among citizens. Its members were leading figures in the mass demonstrationon June 10 in HCM City which aimed to protest the Vietnamese parliament’s plan to approve two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security.

Fearing that local residents may hold another mass protest in the first week of September on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day (September 2), the police in HCM City conducted a raid to arrest local activists who used social networks to call for peaceful demonstration.

Along with arresting members of the Hiến Pháp group, HCM City’s police also detained others, including Huynh Thi Thu Vang who was also charged with Article 118. Vang, 52, is working to promote food safety and warn public about abuse of toxic chemicals in food production, processing and preservation.

Vietnam’s crackdown on local dissidents and online bloggers is intensified as General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the ruling Communist Party is striving to take the country’s president post after the sudden death of Tran Dai Quang.

According to the statistics of Defend the Defenders, Vietnam has arrested 24 activists so far this year, and convicted 38 human rights defenders, sentencing them to a total of 282.5 years in prison and 81 years of probation. In addition, the communist regime has convicted 60 people for their participation in the mass protest in mid-June, giving 51 of them between eight and 54 months in prison and eight between five and 18 months of probation. The remaining, Vietnamese American William Anh Nguyen was deported to the US.

On October 5, a court in HCM City convicted human rights advocates and pro-democracy campaigners Luu Van Vinh, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Nguyen Van Duc Do, Tu Cong Nghia and Phan Trung on subversion, sentencing them to a total 57 years of prison and 15 years of probation. They were punished for their plan to set up the Vietnam National Coalition with aim to fight for political pluralism.

The communist nation is holding 246 prisoners of conscience, according to NoW!Campaign, a coalition of 14 domestic and international NGOs, including Defend the Defenders, Boat People SOS (BPSOS), Civil Rights Defenders (CRD) and Front Line Defenders (FLD).

Related links:

Blogger Ngo Van Dung Charged with Disruption of Security, Allegation of Six Other Members of Hiến Pháp Group Unknown

Second Member of Hiến Pháp Group Charged with “Disruption of Security,” Facing Severe Sentence

 

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