Truong Minh Duc

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Truong Minh Duc

Other Names: Trương Minh Đức

Date of Birth: August 10, 1960

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Current Prison: Prison No. 6, Nghe An province

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Democracy
  • Human rights
  • Land rights

Known Afilliations:

  • Brotherhood for Democracy
  • Viet Labour Movement
  • Vietnam Populist Party

June 2019:

On June 20, Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thanh, Duc's wife, went to visit him at prison camp No. 6 in Thanh Chuong district, Nghe An province. At the visit, Duc was having trouble walking and holding his head up. He reported extreme heat in the cells, and no fans. Duc said many prisoners got together and filed a request to demand new fans, but the prison authorities refused and gave them different excuses. Duc also said that the inmates were willing to pay for the electric bill just to have the fans put back in. Mrs. Thanh told the prison guards that the family would buy a fan, but at that point the guard stopped her from discussing the problem further. Due to this issue, several political prisoners started a hunger strike for over ten days to demand better conditions.


Update: As of June 30, 2019, The political prisoners in Prison No. 6, Thanh Chuong, Nghe An, including Truong Minh Duc, Dao Quang ThucNguyen Van Tuc, were on their 19th day of a collective hunger strike. They are striking to protest the abusive conditions in the prison camp: despite the extreme heat, the prison refuses to provide fans. Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thanh, Truong Minh Duc’s wife, asked everyone to speak up against the cruel treatment by the authorities in Prison No. 6. Mr. Duc also asked all embassies and human rights organizations, overseas and inside Vietnam, to speak up to improve the conditions in all the prisons in order to save these prisoners of conscience’s lives. Read our full report on their situation here.

Vietnamese civil organizations issued an “Urgent appeal against Torture and Maltreatment of Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam,” urging the Vietnamese government to “immediately order an end to the torture and maltreatment of prisoners in every prison across Vietnam, especially Prison Camp No. 5 and 6 and to “conduct visits to the above-mentioned prison camps for inspection and scrutiny, and punish those who violate the UNCAT.” As of July 2, 2019, twelve civil society organizations and more than 550 individuals had signed the urgent appeal.

Details - History of Activism.

Truong Minh Duc is a journalist and labor rights activist. He is also member of the Broterhood for Democracy, which was founded by imprisoned human rights lawyey Nguyen Van Dai. Duc has often been targeted for his activism, having been physically attacked on more than one ocassion.

Truong Minh Duc Facebook

Defend the Defenders's archives

Amnesty International, Urgent Action, Activists Held Incommunicado May Face Life in Prison, September 8, 2017

Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam, Amnesty International, April 2018 (PDF)

Many Vietnamese Activists Detained, Charged with Subversion, Defend the Defenders, July 30, 2017

Arrested May 5, 2007. Sentenced to 5 years in prison under Art. 258 (1999 Code). Released May 5, 2012.

May 5, 2007
  • Art. 258 (1999 Code)
July 18, 2008
5 years in prison
May 5, 2012

Arrested July 30, 2017. Sentenced to 12 years in prison under Art. 79 (1999 Code). Expected Release is July 30, 2029.

July 30, 2017
  • Art. 79 (1999 Code)
April 5, 2018
Nguyen Van Mieng
12 years in prison
July 30, 2029

First arrest:

Truong Minh Duc was arrested in May 2007 and tried in 2008 under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code for "abusing democratic freedoms." He served a five-year prison sentence. 

Second arrest:

Truong Minh Duc was arrested at his home on July 30, 2017. Also arrested, coinciding with Duc's arrest, were Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, and Nguyen Bac Truyen (who was assumed to be arrested after being kidnapped). Duc was charged under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code for subversion. 
December 2017:
Authorities announced they finished investigations into several members of the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group founded by lawyer Nguyen Van Dai that was targeted with harassment and arrests during much of 2017. Authorities have recommended that Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Bac Truyen, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Van Dai, and Le Thu Ha be prosecuted. 

April 2018:

On April 5, in a one-day trial, six activists, whose backgrounds range from defending religious freedom, to environmental rights, to multi-party democracy, were sentenced to a combined 66 years in prison and 17 years of house arrest under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Five of the activists are key members of the pro-democracy group, The Brotherhood for Democracy. All have been known to support political prisoners and their families and advocate for human rights. Truong Minh Duc was sentenced to 12 years in prison and three years of house arrest.

June 2018:

Three Brotherhood for Democracy members – Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, and Pham Van Troi– as well as religious freedom activist Nguyen Bac Truyen, had their appeals denied on June 4.

July 2018:

Authorities transferred Truong Minh Duc to a prison far from home, and his family was not notified in advance of the move. This is an unjust but common tactic used to isolate prisoners from support networks. Duc was transferred from detention center B14 in Hanoi to prison No. 6 in Thanh Chuong, Nghe An province.

February 2019:

Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh was temporarily detained while traveling. She is the wife of Truong Minh Duc. She traveled to Germany to visit her relatives on January 6, 2019 and returned to Vietnam on February 21. At 7:55 am, Thanh made a phone call to her family and informed them that police “invited” her to work with them at the airport. Police finally released her at 1:00 pm after confiscating her passport. This detention might be because of her advocacy for her husband during her trip in Germany. 

He had a stroke in May of 2017, and because of that, he needs to take daily medications to prevent further episodes.

February 2019:

On February 26, 2019, Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh went to visit her husband Truong Minh Duc at Detention Center Number 6, Thanh Chuong District, Nghe An Province. Before their meeting in the afternoon, a detention officer watched Thanh closely. Duc was said to look unhealthy and thinner. His diseases, especially blood pressure and heart disease, have worsened because Duc was worried about his family after not hearing any news about them. He told his wife to bring him a glucometer to check for diabetes, which might be causing his tiredness and weight loss.

September 2017:

Amnesty International released an Urgent Action for Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, and Nguyen Trung Ton. The three were arrested on July 30, 2017, under Article 79 for ties to the Brotherhood for Democracy. They are being held in incommunicado detention and need access to healthcare treatment.

Several UN Rapporteurs released a letter expressing concern about the arrests and detentions of Nguyen Bac Truyen, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Le Dinh Luong. They highlighted the issue that these arrests took place during a concerted crackdown on human rights activists and point out that Vietnam has international obligations to protect universal freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. 

April 2018:

Governments, advocacy groups, and individuals alike have condemned the harsh sentences against Ton and his co-defendants. “The Vietnamese government should thank them for their efforts to improve the country instead of arresting and putting them on trial," said Human Rights Watch's Asia Director, Brad Adams, in a statement ahead of the trial. The Spokesperson of the EU External Action division noted in their statement that the rights exercised by the defendants are "guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."  The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Harriett Baldwin, agreed that peaceful expression of one's opinions should not be considered a crime. Heather Nauert, US State Department Spokesperson, also supported other governments and organizations in calling for the release of the prisoners and for Vietnam to uphold international obligations. "Individuals have the right to the fundamental freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, both online and offline," she said in her statement.

June 2018:

After Duc's appeal trial, Amnesty International released a statement condemning the decision to uphold his and his co-defendants' sentences, saying that: "These activists have been deliberately silenced by Vietnam’s authorities for bravely speaking out in a country where freedom of expression is under attack."

December 2018:

Nguyen Thi Lanh, Nguyen Trung Ton's wife, and other relatives of imprisoned activists met with US Embassy representatives in Hanoi to raise concerns about the health and treatment of Ton, and fellow imprisoned Brotherhood for Democracy members Truong Minh Duc, Tran Thi Xuan, and Pham Van Troi, in prison. 

Profile last updated: 2019-07-10 16:52:07

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