URGENT APPEAL AGAINST TORTURE AND MALTREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE IN VIETNAM
Vietnam, June 28, 2019
On June 26, 2019, the wife and two younger brothers of Mr. Nguyen Van Tuc, prisoner of conscience, visited him at Prison Camp No. 6, which is based in Nghe An province.
Nghe An is a province in the north central coast region of Vietnam. It is Vietnam’s largest province by area. The province has a tropical climate, with extremely tough weather in summer, characterized by high temperature and “Laotian wind” (Foehn wind), a hot and dry westerly wind from Laos to central Vietnam. June is the warmest month of the year. The temperature in June averages 30.1 °C (over 86 °F).
The Tuoi Tre (Youth) Daily on June 26 and 27 reported that many parts in the northern and central region of Vietnam had since early June faced a severe heatwave, with temperature reaching up to between 39 and 42 °C (102 and 107 °F). At least three cases of illness due to heat were reported.
Mrs. Bui Thi Re, Tuc’s wife, said after her visit that Nguyen Van Tuc and some other prisoners of conscience had been on hunger strike for sixteen days to protest the Prison Camp, who refused to provide them fans despite the excessively hot weather, with indoor temperatures reaching more than 42 °C (107.6 °F).
“He told me, ‘I am living in very bad condition. Who knows what lies ahead of us here? Mom is old, please take care of her for me. On my part, I’m not sure if I could stay alive to meet mom and our brothers and sisters and children again someday…” It hurts me a lot to hear what he said,” Re said.
On that same day, another prisoner of conscience, Truong Minh Duc, made a phone call to his wife at home, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, saying he and some inmates, including Dao Quang Thuc, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Tran Phi Dung, were on their sixteenth day of hunger strike to protest against Detention Camp No. 6 maltreating prisoners of conscience.
Previously, on June 20, Truong Minh Duc told his wife in her prison visit that prisoners of conscience had been on hunger strike for ten continuous days in objection to the Prison Camp, who removed all the electric fans despite the severe heatwave. On her Facebook page, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh described later that her husband
Truong Minh Duc was found too weak: he was limping and almost unable to keep his eyes open, and breathed in short pants. His head kept drooping down, and he look very fatigued.
On June 23, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh filed a petition to Minister of Public Security To Lam and the wardens of the Prison Camp No. 6, urging them to handle the complaint fromprisoners of conscience and religion, including her husband, that the wardens had removed all the fans so that the prisoners had to take hunger strike in objection. Both their complaint and her petition remain unanswered.
In May, when prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Hoa was tortured and placed under solitary confinement in An Diem (a prison camp located in Quang Nam province), some prisoners of conscience and religion including Nguyen Bac Truyen, Hoang Duc Binh, Nguyen Thai Binh, Le Duc Dong, also went on hunger strike for days to protest the abuse.
In mid-June when some families visited prisoners of conscience in Ha Nam prison camp, they reported that Nguyen Viet Dung, Phan Kim Khanh, Le Dinh Luong, and Nguyen Thanh Tung were maltreated, shackled and held incommunicado just because they had earlier met to discuss filing a complaint against Nam Ha prison camp, urging legitimate rights for the prisoners.
The removal of fans in Prison Camp No. 6 right when the over 42 °C heatwave was burning Nghe An, the torture and solitary confinement of Nguyen Van Hoa in An Diem prison camp, the solitary confinement and shackling of Nguyen Viet Dung, Phan Kim Khanh, Le Dinh Luong, and Nguyen Thanh Tung just because of their discussion on filing a complaint againstthe abusive jail conditions in Ha Nam prison camp obviously constitute torture and cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners of conscience. By this these prison camps and their wardens have violated the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) to which Vietnam is a signatory state.
Articles 12 and 13 of the Convention provides that “Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction,” and “Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.”
Based on the above-mentioned facts and analysis, we, the undersigned persons and civil society organizations, declare that we strongly protest the torture and maltreatment of prisoners, including but not restricted to prisoners of conscience.
We urge the Minister of Public Security, the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister, the President of the State, and the Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly to:
• immediately order an end to the torture and maltreatment of prisoners in every prison across Vietnam, especially Prison Camp No. 5 and 6;
• quickly conduct visits to the above-mentioned prison camps for inspection and scrutiny, and punish those who violate the UNCAT.
Also, we urge international human rights organizations and democratic governments to raise voices and take relevant actions to pressure the government of Vietnam to fulfill its human rights obligations.
Civil society organizations:
Nhóm Vì Môi Trường (For the Environment), rep. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Bich Nga
Người Bảo vệ Nhân quyền (Defend the Defenders), rep. Mr. Vu Quoc Ngu
Phong trào Liên đới Dân oan (The Movement for Mutual Support of Oppressed Victims of
Injustice), rep. Mrs. Tran Ngoc Anh
Hội thánh Mennonite Cộng đồng (The Mennonite Church), rep. pastor Nguyen Manh Hung
Hội Dân oan Ba Miền (The National Association of Victims of Injustice), rep. Mr. Nguyen
Hội Anh Em Dân Chủ (Brotherhood for Democracy), rep. lawyer Nguyen Van Dai
Hội Bầu bí tương thân (Bau Bi in Solidarity), rep. Nguyen Le Hung
Diễn đàn Xã hội Dân sự (Civil Society Forum), rep. Mr. Nguyen Quang A
Hội Cựu TNLT Việt Nam (The Vietnamese Association of Former Prisoners of Conscience),
rep. Mr. Nguyen Dan Que
My Khanh parish, Vinh diocese, rep. priest Anthony Dang Huu Nam
Hội Giáo chức Chu Văn An (The Chu Van An Association of Teachers and Educators), rep. Mr. Vu Manh Hung
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