Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Report for July 8-14, 2019: Activists, Relatives of Prisoners of Conscience Brutally Beaten Near Prison Camp No. 6
Defend the Defenders | July 14, 2019
Vietnam’s communist regime continues its persecution against local dissent, showing its brutality by attacking activists and relatives of prisoners of conscience when they visited Prison camp No. 6 in the central province of Nghe An, where a group of political prisoners is conducting a hunger strike to protest inhumane treatment against them.
On the afternoon of July 12, a group of around 25 activists and relatives of prisoners of conscience went to the prison to visit them and support in-hunger-strike prisoners, they were brutally beaten and robbed by plainclothes agents and thugs. Along causing severe injuries to many activists, thugs also grabbed cell phones, cameras and personal documents of a number of them and destroyed them.
Independent journalist Huynh Ngoc Chenh and his wife social activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh, Duong Thi Tan, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Chau- wife of imprisoned human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Anh, and several others are still in great pains several days after the assault.
The Police Ministry Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security has officially announced that it has denied human rights lawyer Tran Vu Hai the right to be a defense lawyer of former prisoner of conscience Truong Duy Nhat, who was kidnapped in Bangkok in late January and charged with “abusing power.” The move clearly showed that the charge of tax evasion against lawyer Hai and his wife earlier this month is the purely political case in a bid to prevent him from providing legal assistance for a number of sensitive cases.
Human rights defender Tran Huynh Duy Thuc said he continues to fight for the end of inhumane treatment against prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience in prisons across the nation. He also conducted hunger strike for three days in early July after the authorities in Prison camp No. 6 in Nghe An denied his right for going out for refreshing, but ended fasting after the prison removed the ban.
===== July 8 =====
Prisoner of Conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc Continues to Struggle to Demand for End of Inhumane Treatment
Defend the Defenders: Prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving his 16-year imprisonment in Prison camp No. 6 in Nghe An province, claims that he will continue to work for the end of inhumane treatment against prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience.
During a regular visit with his family on July 6, he told his family that he conducted hunger strike on July 1-3 after the prison’s authorities denied to allow him to go out and placed him de facto incommunicado. However, he stopped fasting after they removed the measure.
He said his communication with letters with his family has been stopped by the prison’s authorities since the beginning of this year. He and his family have denounced this move of the prison.
He has urged the domestic and the international community to support families of prisoners of conscience who are under suppression in prisons across the nation.
===== July 11 =====
Human Rights Lawyer Not Permitted to Provide Legal Assistance for Truong Duy Nhat
Defend the Defenders: Vietnam’s authorities have denied human rights lawyer Tran Vu Hai from becoming a legal counselor for former prisoner of conscience Truong Duy Nhat, who is held for investigation for the allegation of corruption for his alleged involvement in a land-fraud case while serving as bureau chief at a newspaper in Danang city in the 1990s.
The Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Public Security has said that lawyer Hai is not qualified for providing legal assistance for Mr. Nhat, who was kidnapped in Bangkok in late January after registering for political asylum to the UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s Office there.
Specifically, the agency said Mr. Hai was probed for the allegation of tax evasion by the police from Khanh Hoa province earlier this month.
The police’s move implies that the probing against Mr. Hai and his wife for their involvement in the property transaction in Khanh Hoa three years ago is political, aiming to prevent him from assisting Nhat.
After announcing the launch of the investigation on the tax evasion against the lawyer’s couple, the police from Khanh Hoa also placed them under movement restriction, including travel abroad.
During the police’s raid of his private residence and law company earlier this month, police confiscated a lot of documents and money not relevant to the tax evasion case, including the documentation about Nhat.
===== July 12 =====
Many Activists Brutally Beaten while Visiting PoCs in Hunger Strike in Nghe An
Defend the Defenders: On July 12, authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Nghe An used police, plainclothes agents and thugs as well as criminal prisoners to attack activists and relatives of prisoners of conscience when they went to Prison camp No. 6 to support the ongoing hunger strike of many prisoners of conscience in the camp.
The assault happened at 2.30 PM of Friday near the main gate of Prison camp No. 6, said Trinh Ba Phuong, whose parents are former prisoners of conscience Trinh Ba Khiem and Can Thi Theu and are victims of the attack.
Phuong said around 20 activists arrived near the prison, their bus was stopped as some trucks were placed to block to the main road leading to the camp. Activists were forced to walk to the facility and the assault started.
Dozens of police officers, plainclothes agents and thugs started to attack the visitors. Among victims are independent journalist Huynh Ngoc Chenh and his wife- activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh, former prisoners of conscience Trinh Ba Khiem and his wife Can Thi Theu, and Hanoi-based activist Truong Van Dung. The victims suffered from many severe injuries on their faces, heads, and bodies.
Along with beating, the attackers also grabbed the victims’ cell phones and other belongings, including their wallets with personal documents. They took away professional cameras of Mr. Chenh, who is a freelance photographer.
Later, the attackers forced their victims to go back to their bus and requested the drivers to leave the area.
Phuong, who is a land rights activists, said police and thugs also attacked Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, wife of prisoner of conscience Truong Minh Duc, former prisoner of conscience Vu Van Hung, and Mrs. Chau, wife of prisoner of conscience Nguyen Ngoc Anh, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” in June. Police grabbed their cell phones and took the wives into a car to Vinh airport, forcing them to leave for Ho Chi Minh City. Along with beating the four people, the thugs grabbed cell phones of Mrs. Thanh and Mrs. Chau and destroyed them as well as their sim cards. The five-year-old boy of Mrs. Chau was also hurt during the attack.
Two days after the attack, Defend the Defenders contacted some of the assaulted activists and they said they still find severe pains on their bodies.
Meanwhile, there was no update information about the hunger strike of four prisoners of conscience Nguyen Van Tuc, Dao Quang Thuc, Tran Phi Dung and Truong Minh Duc in the camp. They started their fasting on June 10 to protest the prison’s removal of all electrical fans in their cells amid extreme hot summer in Nghe An.
There is a campaign of Vietnamese activists to support prisoners of conscience who are subjects of torture and inhumane treatment in prison camps across Vietnam. A dozen of independent civil organizations and more than 1,000 activists and ordinary people have signed a joint petition which condemns the Vietnamese regime’s inhumane treatment against prisoners of conscience and request the government to improve living conditions in all prisons.
Many other prisoners of conscience in Prison camp No. 5 in Thanh Hoa province and An Diem Prison camp in Quang Nam province are also conducting a hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment against them.
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