Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weeky Report for November 19-25, 2018: Jailed Prominent Dissident Tran Huynh Duy Thuc Faces Critical Danger

 

Defend the Defenders | November 25, 2018

 

Prominent dissident Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving his 16-year imprisonment on charge of subversion in Prison camp No. 6 in the central province of Nghe An, has informed his family that he is in serious danger as Vietnam’s authorities likely intensify pressure on him in a bid to force him to make false confession as a condition for his release.

Mr. Thuc, 56, suspected that he was poisoned with tainted food on November 20 with severe consequences. He recovered one day later and decided to eat only the food supplied by his family. However, the prison’s authorities are refusing to provide him with hot water for preparing noodle. They stop handing over his mails to him, and inform him that they are considering not to allowing him to use torch for reading, and sphygmomanometer and blood glucose meter for health checking.

Vietnam’s authorities have denied entry for Ms. Le Thu Ha, former spokeswoman of the unregistered group Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD), not allowing her to enter the country five months after sending her to live in exile in Germany.

Ms. Ha, who was arrested together with prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai on charge of subversion in April this year and sentenced to nine years in prison and three years of probation in April this year, unexpectedly returned in Vietnam on November 19. When she landed in Noi Bai International Airport, she was blocked by border security officers. Later, she was forced to take a flight to Thailand and then Germany.

In June, Mr. Dai and Ha were freed in condition that they would not return in Vietnam once the communists are still holding power in the Southeast Asian nation.

Police in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have completed their investigation against local activist Huynh Truong Ca (Facebooker Huỳnh Trương Ca) on allegation of “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, and proposed to prosecute him on the charge. Mr. Ca, who was arrested in early September this year, is expected to be tried soon and faces imprisonment of up to 12 years.

The People’s Court of Buon Ho town in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has delayed the trial against local human rights defender Huynh Thuc Vy on charge of “Affronting the national flag or national emblem” under Article 276 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

Accordingly, the first-instance hearing of the case will be carried out at 01:30 PM of November 30 instead of 07:30 AM of November 22 as it set two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Higher People’s Court in Danang has postponed the appeal hearing of BFD’s former Spokesman Nguyen Trung Truc on allegation of subversion. The appeal hearing was set on November 5 but delayed for unspecific time. It is worth to note that his lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng was not informed about the court’s hearing plan in early this month. Truc, who was arrested in August 4, 2017 and charged with subversion, was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison in September this year.

On November 21, the People’s Court of Bac Ninh province rejected the appeal of citizen journalist and anti-corruption activist Do Cong Duong on charge of “disrupting public order,” upholding a four-year sentence given by a lower court on the first-instance hearing in mid September.

One day later, the People’s Court of Can Tho City rejected appeal of local Facebooker Nguyen Hong Nguyen on charge of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code.

According to local activists, like in the first-instance hearing, Nguyen had no attorney to protect him in his appeal hearing.

Vietnam’s authorities have transferred jailed human rights defender and democracy activistNguyen Viet Dung to Ba Sao Prison camp in the northern province of Ha Nam without informing his family about his transfer. The transfer away of his family in Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province will cause difficult for monthly prison visits.

In late evening of November 21, police in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, detained freelance journalist Le Thi Thu and her small daughter to a police station for interrogation for hours about her social activities and writings before releasing her at around 8 AM of next day. This was her  second detention within two weeks. In the first detention on November 9 on the sidelines of the appeal hearing of 15 peaceful demonstrators on allegation of “causing public disorders” in Dong Nai province, she was beaten by security officers.

===== 19/11 =====

Police in Dong Thap Propose to Prosecute Activist Huynh Truong Ca on Charge of “Anti-state Propaganda”

Defend the Defenders: The police in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have completed their investigation against local human rights defender and democracy activist Huynh Truong Ca (Facebooker Huỳnh Trương Ca), proposing the province’s People’s Procuracy to prosecute him on allegation of “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.

According to its letter sent to his family, the province’s Police Department said the investigation results had been sent to the Procuracy.

Mr. Ca, 47, will face imprisonment of between seven and 12 years in prison, if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.

He was arrested on September 4. He is a co-founder of the unregistered group Hiến Pháp (Constitution) which is striving to educatepeople abouthuman rights as well as political and civil rights by disseminating Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution among citizens. Its members were key figures in the mass demonstration on June 10 this year in Ho Chi Minh City which aimed to protest the Vietnamese parliament’s plan to approve two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security.

Ca has been held incommunicado since his arrest on September 4.

He is the 9th member of Hiến Pháp group being kidnapped or arrested in September-October. Others include Ho Dinh Cuong (Facebooker Văn Cương Hồ)and Ngo Van Dung (Facebooker Ngo Van Dung), Mr. Tran Thanh Phuong, Ms. Doan Thi Hong (Facebooker Xuân Hồng), Ms. Tran Hoang Lan (Facebooker Tran Hoang Lan), Mr. Do The Hoa (Facebooker Bang Lĩnh), and Le Minh The (Lê Minh Thể).

Mr. Cuong and Mr. Dung were charged with “disrupting security” under Article 118 of the Penal Code and face imprisonment of up to 15 years if are convicted while Mr. The was charged with “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 with the maximum imprisonment of seven years.

Police released Mr. Hung but still keep four others without giving formal charges more than two months after their abductions.

The arrest and prosecution of Mr. Ca is part of Vietnam’s ongoing crackdown on local dissent.

Since the beginning of 2018, Vietnam has arrested 26 activists, mostly with allegations in national security provisions such as subversion (Article 109), conducting anti-state propaganda (Article 117), disruption of security (Article 118) and abusing democratic freedom (Article 331).

Hanoi has convicted 39 human rights defenders and online bloggers, sentencing them to a total of 294.5 years in prison and 66 years of probation.

More arrests will be expected in coming months and especially from January 1 next year when the Law on Cyber Security becomes effective. According to international human rights groups and local critics, the law aims to silence online bloggers and Facebookers.

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Democracy Campaigner Nguyen Viet Dung Transferred to Prison Far from His Family, Relatives Not Informed

Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have transferred jailed human rights defender and democracy activist Nguyen Viet Dung to Ba Sao Prison camp in the northern province of Ha Nam without informing his family about his transfer, Defend the Defenders has learned.

On November 19, Mr. Dung’s father went to Nghi Kim temporary detention facility under the authority of the Nghe An province’s Police Department where Dung had been held in the facility since his arrest in September last year to visit him. However, the facility’s authorities said Dung had been taken to the new place where he will serve his six-year imprisonment.

Ba Sao Prison camp is about 200 km from Dung’s native Yen Thanh district, the family said.

Dung, the founder and the president of the unsanctioned Vietnam Republican Party, was kidnapped by plainclothes agents in his home province of Nghe An on September 27, 2017.Later, the Nghe An province’s police charged him with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code for his social activities which aim to promote human rights and multi-party democracy and protect environment as well as assist residents affected by the pollution caused by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant.

His arrest is linked to his assistance given to local fishermen whose lives are seriously affected after the massive death of fish in the central coastal region due to the illegal discharge of toxic industrial waste from the Formosa steel plant in the central province of Ha Tinh.

On April 12 this year, Dung was convicted by the People’s Court of Nghe An which sentenced him to seven years in prison and five years of probation. On August 15, the Higher People’s Court in Hanoireduced his prison sentence to six years but kept the probation period. The trial and the appeal hearings failed to meet international standards for fair trials, according to his lawyer Ha Huy Son.

Dungwas reportedly brutally beaten by kidnappers during the abduction.While being held in Nghi Kim temporary detention facility, he was also tortured by interrogation officers who want him to make false confession against pro-democracy activist Le Dinh Luong, who was sentenced to 20 years on allegation of subversion earlier this year.

On March 26this year, Human Rights Watch issued a statement  calling on Vietnam to drop all charges against Dung and release him immediately. The New York-based organization also condemned Vietnam’s use of controversial articles including Articles 79 and 88 in the national security provisions of the Penal Code to silence local political dissidents, human rights defenders and social activists.

On April 12, Amnesty International issued a press release  regarding the separate trials of Dung and Vu Van Hung, a former prisoner of conscience and member of the unsanctioned Brotherhood for Democracy. James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that “Nguyen Viet Dung is a brave young activist in a country where human rights are under attack. This man has already served time in prison for his peaceful activism once before. To ensure there is no repeat of this injustice, the authorities of Nghe An province must immediately drop all charges against Dung and release him immediately.”

Along with giving barbaric lengthy sentences to human rights defenders and democracy campaigners for their brave activities to protect the community and the country, Vietnam’s communist regime has sent them to prison camps far from their families in a bid to cause difficulties for their relatives to pay regular visits. In addition, prisons’ authorities often use severe measures to treat them in a bid to break their fighting spirit.

===== November 20 =====

Dak Lak Delays Trial against HRD Huynh Thuc Vy on Allegation of Disrespecting National Flag  

Defend the Defenders: The People’s Court of Buon Ho town in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has delayed the trial against local human rights defender Huynh Thuc Vy on charge of “Affronting the national flag or national emblem” under Article 276 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

In its notice sent to the activist on November 20, the court said the first-instance hearing of the case will be carried out at 01:30 PM of November 30 instead of 07:30 AM of November 22 as it set two weeks ago.

The hearing open for the public will be held at the building of the People’s Committee of An Binh ward, instead in its headquarters, the court said, citing that the relocation was made due to construction works in its workplace.

Vy, who has a daughter of 25-month age, may face imprisonment of up to three years, if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.

Last week, authorities in Dak Lak province issued a decision banning her from going abroad and placing her under house arrest.

Three months ago, authorities in Dak Lak sent a large number of police officers to Vy’s private residence to arrest her and conduct her house searching. They confiscated a number of her personal items, including books and cell phones. They released her in late evening of the same day after issuing a decision to launch a probe to investigate her on allegation of disrespecting Vietnam’s national flag.

The allegation linked to an event last yearwhenVy was pictured with the Vietnamese national flag which was tainted with paint. Someone said she intentionally defamed the flag that she has never recognized.

The arrest and prosecution of Mrs. Vy aim to silence her who has publicly declared that she has never recognize the communist regime.

She has posted a number of articles for human rights and multi-party democracy, including a book titled “Nhận định Sự thật Tự do và Nhân quyền” (A view on Truth, Freedom and Human Rights). She also advocates for rights of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, often visiting families of prisoners of conscience in the region.

She is among co-founders of the unsanctioned organization Vietnam Women for Human Rights and was its president before getting maternal leave.

Vy is banned from foreign trip as police confiscated her passport when she was on her way to attend a workshop on cyber security organized by Reporters Without Borders and Defend the Defenders in Bangkok in June 2015.

She was interrogated many times in the past. In 2012, she was arrested by the police, put in a car that went for a 1,000kms. She was then interrogated continuously for 12 hours, before being dropped at a fuel station at midnight.

In May2018, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) listed Vy as one of five female activists who are risking their lives to protect others’ rights. Other activists include Wang Yu from China, Maria Chin Abdullah from Malaysia, Anchana Heemina from Thailand and Phyoe Phyoe Aung from Myanmar.

Many legal experts, including Pham Le Vuong Cac, have said that even the court proves that she had tainted Vietnam’s national flag, Vy is still innocent because the act is considered as her right to freedom of expression which is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Vietnam is a signatory party of the two basic international documents for human rights.

===== November 21 =====

Appeal Hearing of Spokesman of Brotherhood for Democracy Convicted on Subversion Delayed

Defend the Defenders: The Higher People’s Court in Danang has postponed the appeal hearing of Nguyen Trung Truc, the spokesman of the banned group Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD) on allegation of subversion, Defend the Defenders has learned.

According to the court’s decision dated on November 5, the appeal hearing was delayed in a bid to allow the authorities to get more information and evidence.

In late September, the court set up the appeal hearing on November 5.

Saigon-based attorney Nguyen Van Mieng, who was hired by Mr. Truc’s family to provide legal assistance for him in the first-instance hearing and the appeal hearing, had not been informed about the court’s plan to open the appeal hearing in early November. On November 15, the court approved him to participate in the appeal hearing.

Mr. Truc, 44, was arrested on August 4, 2017 and charged with “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

He had been kept incommunicado since being detained until August2018 when he was permitted to meet with his lawyer to prepare for his defense.

On September 12, the People’s Court of Vietnam’s central province of Quang Binh convictedTruc, sentencinghim to 12 years in prison and five years of probation afterward.

The trial lasted just three hours and only his son Nguyen Minh Tam wasallowed to attend the hearing, according to his lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng. Some foreign diplomatic missions werereportedly denied to sending their representatives to observe it.

One day ahead of the trial, Human Rights Watch issued a press release calling the Vietnamese authorities to drop all charges against him and release him immediately.

“Nguyen Trung Truc is yet another victim of the Vietnamese government’s campaign against people who advocate human rights and democracy,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The country is now becoming a giant prison for anyone who speaks up against the government or acts to advance basic rights.”

Few hours after the trial, the US Embassy in Vietnam released a statement saying it is “deeply concerned that a Vietnamese court has convicted Nguyen Trung Truc to 12 years in prison and 5 years’ probation under vague charges of “attempting to overthrow the people’s administration.”

The trend of increased arrests and harsh sentences for peaceful activists in Vietnam is troubling, said the Embassy in its statement.  The US calls on Vietnam 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, and 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.

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 hadbeen 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.In addition, Vietnam also arrested former teacher and prisoner of conscience Vu Van Hung, who is also a member of the group, and sentenced him to one year in prison in a politically trumped-up case.

The Brotherhood for Democracy is one of the main targets of the ongoing crackdown of the Vietnamese government on local dissent.

Expressingno tolerance withgovernment’s critics, the Vietnamese communist government has arrested26 activists so far this year, and convicted 39 human rights defenders, giving them a combined 294.5years and 66 years of probation. The highest sentence of 20 years in prison and five years of probation was given to human rights advocate and democracy activist Le Dinh Luong in the trial against him inAugust.

In addition, Vietnam has imprisoned 66 peacefulprotestors who participated in the mass demonstration in mid-June, with imprisonment of between eight months and 54months. Eight others were given probation.

===== November 21 =====

Appeal of Citizen Journalist Do Cong Duong on Charge of “Disrupting Public Order” Rejected

Defend the Defenders: On November 21, the People’s Court of Bac Ninh province rejected the appeal of citizen journalist and anti-corruption activist Do Cong Duong on charge of “disrupting public order,” upholding a four-year sentence given by a lower court on the first-instance hearing, according to his lawyer Ha Huy Son.

Mr. Duong, 54, was arrested on January 24, 2018 while filming the land grabing case in Tam Son commune, Tu Son town. Initially, he was charged with “distrupting public order” under Article 318. Later, authorities in Bac Ninh province added the second charge of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code.

On September 17, the People’s Court of Tu Son town convicted him for the first charge, sentencing him to four years in prison. On October 12, the People’s Court of Bac Ninh province found him guilty for the second charge and gave him five years in prison.

During the Wednesday’s appeal hearing, the court rejected his defense which reaffirmed his client’s innocence, said the Hanoi-based attorney.

In his defense statement, Son said Mr. Duong was not the organizer nor a participant of the protest carried out by evicted farmers during the land grabbing in Tam Son commune on January 24. He was detained while filming the scence and his acts are not violations of the country’s law.

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 timesbefore being arrested. 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.

LawyerSon, who defends Duong in both cases and requests his immediate and unconditional release, 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.

Two days after the trial against him for the first charge, the Committee to Protect Journalist issued a statement to condemn the Vietnamese government’s move, saying he should be released and all pending charges against the journalist should be dropped.

“If Vietnam wants to be taken seriously as a responsible international actor, it must stop jailing journalists,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative.

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’ 2018Report, unchanged from previous years.

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

Defend the Defenders: 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 is likely to 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.

===== November 22 =====

Can Tho Court Upholds Jail Sentence for Facebooker Nguyen Hong Nguyen on Charge of “Abusing Democratic Freedom”

Defend the Defenders: On November 22, the People’s Court of Can Tho City rejected appeal of local Facebooker Nguyen Hong Nguyen on charge of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the Vietnamese 2015 Penal Code.

The court which lasted few hours upheld the 2-year imprisonment given by the People’s Court of Cai Rang district in the trial on September 22.

According to local activists, Nguyen had no attorney to protect him in the first-instance and appeal hearings.

Mr. Nguyen, who had posted or shared numerous articles about human rights abuse and democracy on his Facebook account Bồ Công Anh, was arrested on June 16, 2018 amid increasing crackdown on local dissent.

He is among four Facebookers imprisoned in Can Tho City in recent months for their online posting. Others are Bui Manh Dong, Doan Khanh Vinh Quang and Truong Dinh Khang who received between 12 and 30 months in prison.

All of them were listed as prisoners of conscience by Now!Campaign, a coalition of 14 domestic and international non-government organizations (NGOs) which works for release of all prisoners of conscience in Vietnam.

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Freelance Journalist Le Thi Thu Detained for Second Time Within Two Weeks amid Increasing Crackdown 

Defend the Defenders: In late evening of November 21, Vietnam’s security forces detained and interrogated freelance journalist Le Thi Thu (Facebooker Thu Le) for second time within two weeks, the victim has told Defend the Defenders.

Speaking with Defend the Defenders, Ms. Thu said officers from District 12, Ho Chi Minh City detained her and her five-year-old daughter when they were staying in a hotel, and took her and her kid to the Hiep Thanh ward’s police station for questioning about her activities.

Police released her and her daughter at around 8AM of next day. They wanted to hold her cell phone and Macbook but met strong protest from her who said she would go to the Ministry of Public Security to protest to get the items returned if they confiscate them.

Meanwhile, in early morning of November 21, security forces in Hanoi detained local activist Le Hong Phong to Bo De ward’s police station for questioning and release him in late evening. It is unclear whether the two detentions were related.

Ms. Thu is a former of a local website Dan Tri. She has been covering reports on different issues, including unjustice, environment, land grabbing, and social disatisfaction.

On November 9, she was arrested and beaten by Dong Nai province’s police for interviewing relatives of mid-June peaceful protesters on the day of their appeal.

Due to her reports, she has been under harassment of Vietnam’s security forces.

Last year, when she covered a protest of traders in the Saigon-based An Dong Market, police detained her, snabbed her face and broke her Macbook, she said.

In other times, police confiscated her cell phones and left her at an remote area near the border between Vietnam and Cambodia, she said.

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’ 2018Report, unchanged from previous years.

===== November 24 =====

Imprisoned Prominent HRD Tran Huynh Duy Thuc Suspects He Was Poisoned, Denied of Basic Things

Defend the Defenders: Imprisoned prominent human rights defender Tran Huynh Duy Thuc suspects that he had been poisoned by authorities in the Prion camp No. 6 in Nghe An who are denying him of number of services, according to his family.

During a meeting with his family in the prison on November 24, he said his health worsened critically four days ago.

Accordingly, he waked up at 05:15AM of Tuesday and felt dizzy while his blood rose to 150/110. He sweated a lot, and vomited with small blood after uptaking water.

While laying in his bed to rest, he continued to vomit and had severe headache. The prison’s medical staff said he had “cerebral circulation” and gave himtwo pills,but he vomitted immediately after taking them.

His blood pressure became normal at 7AM and he took his breakfast and lunch but he felt tired all day. His health recovered next day.

Suspecting that the prison’s food is not safe, Thuc now eats only the food supplied by his family, he told his relatives.

However, the prison’s authorities are refusing to provide him with hot water which he needs for preparing noodle.

Thuc said the prison’s treatment with him has been changed recently. The prison’s authorities also refuse to allow him to receive his mails. Further more, they had informed him that they will consider not giving him hot water, not allowing to use torch for reading, sphygmomanometer and blood glucose meter for health checking.

Thuc urges the domestic and the international community to pay attention to his case, his family said.

Former prisoner of conscience Le Cong Dinh said the moves of the authorities of Prison No. 6 in the central province of Nghe An aim to pressure on Thuc in a bid to force him to make false confession, as a foreign diplomat told him last week. Vietnam’s government is not willing to free Thuc without having his false confession, Dinh said.

Mr. Thuc, 52, was arrested on May 24, 2009 and charged with subversion for his peaceful expression of opinions. Later, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Many democratic governments and international human rights organizations have called on Vietnam’s communist regime to release him unconditionally and immediately. Some foreign countries reportedly say they are willing to offer their citizenship for him but he likely refuses to live in exile but stays in the country to fight for human rights and multi-party democracy.

You can get more information about him on our website.

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