Le Dinh Luong

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Le Dinh Luong

Other Names: Lê Đình Lượng

Date of Birth: December 10, 1965

Gender: M

Religion: Christian (Catholic)

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Veteran

Last Known Prison: Nam Ha prison, Ha Nam province

Areas of Activism:

  • Environment
  • Sovereignty

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Denial of Legal Representation
  • Prolonged Incommunicado Detention
  • Harsh Physical and Administrative Conditions
  • Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer
  • Infliction of Physical and Psychological Pain

October 2022:

Per Luong's daughter, Nguyen Thi Xoan, Le Dinh Luong’s family went to visit him at Nam Ha Prison on October 7, they were told by a prison official that Luong did not want to see them because he did not want to wear the prison uniform. When the family pressed them to see a statement signed by Luong confirming that, the official only showed a piece of paper with Luong’s signature but did not let them read its content. When the official was asked how long Luong had refused to wear prison uniforms, he responded: “Today.” The family then remembered that Luong once told them that “If one day I cannot come out to see our family, know that something has happened to me in prison.” Luong’s family is asking for any help they can get to find out what has happened to him. The 88 Project encourages supporters to share the news and contact Nam Ha Prison for an official statement.

Details - Family Situation.

Le Dinh Luong's son, Le Dinh Hieu, was attacked by police, and his daughter-in-law, Nguyen Thi Xoan, taken into custody for hours, just days after Mr. Luong’s arrest. 
In August 2017, police attacked fifteen relatives of Le Dinh Luong when they came to try to meet with Luong and to learn more about his current situation. Police initially took the family members, including pregnant women and elderly family members, in to the station and then beat them and detained part of the group.

Vietnamese Activist Held in Nghe An on Suspicion of Subversion, Radio Free Asia, July 27, 2017

Defend the Defenders's archives


Arrested July 24, 2017. Sentenced to 20 years in prison under Art. 79 (1999 Code). Expected Release is July 24, 2037.

July 24, 2017
  • Art. 79 (1999 Code)
August 16, 2018
The People's Court of Nghe An province, Nghe An province
  • Ha Huy Son
  • Dang Dinh Manh
20 years in prison
July 24, 2037
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of association
  • fair trial
Veteran Le Dinh Luong was taken into custody by plainclothes police on July 24, 2017, in Nghe An province, for alleged subversion under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code. He had written on the Formosa environmental disaster and was targeted by authorities for calling for an election boycott and for connections to Viet Tan, an overseas pro-democracy group. 

July 2018:

Activist and veteran Le Dinh Luong was originally scheduled to be tried on July 30. However, his lawyer Ha Huy Son announced on July 27 that the trial had been postponed; reasons were unclear, however Luong's other lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, was travelling outside of Vietnam. 

August 2018:

Le Dinh Luong on trial on August 16, 2018, Source: AFP Photo/Vietnam News Agency

Le Dinh Luong was tried on August 16, 2018 in Nghe An province and sentenced to an astounding 20 years in prison. A veteran, Luong was sentenced under charges of subversion for peacefully advocating for a clean environment and multi-party democracy. Luong's lawyer, Ha Huy Son, says Luong would appeal the verdict. After the trial, the US State Department said it was "deeply concerned," and urged Vietnam to bring its laws into line with international human rights obligations. Amnesty International had expressed worries prior to the hearing that Luong would not receive a fair trial.  He was finally allowed to meet with his lawyers in late July, after a year of incommunicado detention.

After the trial, news surfaced that journalist Nguyen Van Hoa was beaten and forced into giving testimony used against Le Dinh Luong in court. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported the news. Hoa later recanted on the witness stand, saying the statements were made under duress of the assault. Luong, however, was still sentenced to 20 years in prison. Both activists had been involved with activism after the Formosa environmental disaster. There is also a report that imprisoned founder of the Vietnam Republic Party, Nguyen Viet Dung, was coerced into giving false testimony as well, which he also later recanted, separately from Hoa. Luong's lawyers were not allowed to meet with either witness. After Dung recanted, his family was denied a visit with him in prison.

October 2018:

On October 18, Le Dinh Luong's 20-year sentence was upheld on appeal. He reportedly told the court: "My deeds will be judged by history. I will be happy to be in prison if the nation grows up in freedom and democracy."

January 2019:

Le Dinh Luong was transferred to Ba Sao prison in Nam Ha province, much further away, without prior notice to his family. 

August 2019:

On August 9, 2019, Nguyen Thi Xoan, daughter-in law of Le Dinh Luong, went to visit Luong in Nam Ha prison. The prison wardens stopped Xoan and asked her to buy tickets to use the prison's transport system in order to visit Luong. She asked for an official document requiring visitors to buy tickets to visit prisoners, but the wardens did not comply and prohibited her from visiting. Xoan submitted a complaint to General Ho Thanh Hai, director of C10 department which manages prisons. 

September 2019:

Prison authorities barred Le Dinh Luong's family from visiting with him on September 17, 2019, even though it was the normal visiting time. They did not give a reason for the denial, and the family is concerned that Luong maybe being disciplined behind bars. The family members had traveled from as far away as Ho Chi Minh City (Luong is in Ba Sao prison camp in the northern Ha Nam province) for the visit. This was the second time they were prohibited from visiting. 

October 2020:

Le Dinh Luong's family visited him on October 4, and Luong told them that he would go on a hunger strike starting on October 11. His family was very concerned about his health. Luong said he hadn’t been allowed to read his Bible. The prisoners were also suffering from polluted air and unsanitary water. Therefore, he decided to go on a hunger strike to demand basic rights for himself and other prisoners.

Le Dinh Luong was one of several activists attacked by plainclothes police and unidentified persons in August 2015 after attending the celebration of recently-released political prisoner Tran Minh Nhat. 

September 2017:

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. 

July 2018:

Human Rights Watch called for his release ahead of his previously-scheduled trial, noting that Luong had been denied due process, lacking a lawyer for almost the entire first year of his detention. 

October 2018:

Human Rights Watch called for Luong's release ahead of the appeal trial, stating: "This is an opportunity for the court to right this wrong, distinguish between criticism of the government and actual threats to national security, and defend everyone’s right to free expression.”

January 2019:

In response to Vietnam's Universal Periodic Review in front of the UN Human Rights Council in January, Human Rights Watch (HR) said that "Vietnam presented a grossly inaccurate picture of its human rights record." While publicly committing to the right to a defense counsel, HRW contends that in practice, many dissident defendants are represented by counsel that has little time to prepare for their case, and many trials are rushed. They also highlighted the case of Le Dinh Luong, who was denied the right to meet with his defense counsel (which is allowable under Vietnamese law for national security charges) until the month before his trial; he was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.  

October 2020:

A group of Vietnamese in Tokyo protested in front of the residence of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ahead of his visit to Vietnam on October 18-20. They carried pictures of political prisoners such as Trinh Ba Phuong, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Pham Doan Trang, Le Dinh Luong, and Nguyen Nang Tinh. The group also went on a 24-hour hunger strike to call attention to the government’s continued crackdown on peaceful dissent and violations of freedom of speech.

Vietnam sentences activist to 20 years prison amid dissent crackdown, Reuters, August 16, 2018

Vietnamese videographer beaten and harassed in prison, The Committee to Protect Journalists, August 20, 2018

Nhà hoạt đông Lê Đình Lượng bị chuyển đi trại giam xa nhà, SBTN, January 3, 2019

Facebook update October 2022

TNLT Huỳnh Thục Vy bị đánh, TNLT Lê Đình Lượng không được gặp thân nhân, RFA Vietnamese, October 10, 2022

Interview with Nguyen Thi Xoan, October 10, 2022

Profile last updated: 2022-10-19 19:18:20

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