Phan Kim Khanh was only 23 years old and a student in his final year at the International Relations Faculty of the University of Thai Nguyen when he was arrested in March 2017. Khanh administered several Facebook accounts, YouTube pages, and blogs which published news and comments on social and political issues in Vietnam. For this, he was slammed with a six-year prison sentence. Behind bars, he has faced retaliation from prison authorities for trying to appeal his sentence.
In this video, we interview Khanh’s mother, father, and sister, who remain steadfast in their commitment to Khanh and his innocence, now nearly three years into his prison sentence.
The treatment of Khanh and his family by the authorities highlights the systematic efforts used to repress individual dissidents as well as their families. While Khanh faces psychological difficulties in prison, so does his family, who struggle to make ends meet, let alone visit their son on a consistent basis and send money for his supplies. Trips to visit Khanh are expensive and exhausting for the family, and the money sent for prison supplies only goes so far because the prison canteen charges more than the items would normally cost. In addition, the prison authorities have tried to limit Khanh’s communications with his family, have threatened to isolate him for continuing to press for his right to appeal, and have also arbitrarily denied him certain supplies.
However, it is clear that Khanh’s ideas and spirit still remain with his family, despite these efforts to dismantle Khanh’s network of support. “Should he continue down his current path, I will stop him if it gets dangerous,” Khanh’s mother told us. “Otherwise, he should do whatever he believes is right. I won’t stand in his way because he’s not doing anything wrong.”
Sharing their voices in this video, we hope to help Khanh’s family in their quest to bring his story to more international audiences. If you can assist Khanh’s family, please contact us.
© 2019 The 88 Project