Former Prisoner of Conscience Le Thu Ha Denied to Enter Vietnam after Five Months Living in Exile in Germany

Ms. Le Thu Ha before being arrested in late 2015

Defend the Defenders, November 21, 2018


Vietnam’s authorities have denied former prisoner of conscience Le Thu Ha from entering the country five months after sending her to exile in Germany.

According to former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Dai, a co-founder and imcumbent president of the unregistered organization Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD), who was released from prison and went to live in exile in Germany together with Ms. Ha, said she took an international flight from Germany and arrived in Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport on November 19.

However, Vietnam’s authorities had refused to allow her to enter the country but forced her to go back to Germany, Mr. Dai said.

Ms. Ha’s relatives reportedly received her phone message which said she was on her way to collect her baggage inside in the airport, however, their attempts to contact with her failed.

Mr. Dai said it will be difficult for her when she goes back to Germany because she has a plan to return in Vietnam so she didnt get necessary German documentation for naturalization.

Ms. Ha was a BFD’s spokeswoman and assistance of Mr. Dai. The two activists were arrested on December 16, 2015 on allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Vietnamese 1999 Penal Code.

On July 30, 2017, Vietnam’s communist regime arrested three key members of BFD named Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi and Truong Minh Duc, and Nguyen Bac Truyen, one of its co-founders, and charged them with “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the people’s government” under Article 79 of the Penal Code. On the same day, it changed the allegation against Dai and Ha to subversion.

In April 2018, the People’s Court of Hanoi convicted the six activists, sentencing them to between seven and 15 years in prison, and probations of between one and five years.

Ha was given nine years in prison and two years of probation while Dai was sentenced to 15 years in jail and five years of probation.

On June 7, Dai and Ha were released and taken to Noi Bai International Airport where they got international flights to Germany where they will live in exile.

After arriving in Germany, Ha has expressed her desire to go back to Vietnam, Mr. Dai said.

However, if Ha goes back to Vietnam, she would be put in jail to serve the remaining seven years. She reportedly refused to fill in the forms needed for naturalization, including work permit and passport.