Nguyen Ngoc Anh

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Nguyen Ngoc Anh

Other Names: Nguyễn Ngọc Ánh

Date of Birth: October 12, 1980

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Engineer

Current Prison: Ben Tre Province Police Temporary Detention Center, Ben Tre Province

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Environment
  • Freedom of expression
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty

September 2019:

On September 6, 2019, Nguyen Thi Chau, wife of Nguyen Ngoc Anh, went to visit him in prison. He told his wife that he has had difficulties with his cellmates, who are believed to be encouraged to mistreat him in order for reduced sentences and other lenience. His belongings also haven’t been returned to him after being taken away by the police. His wife reported, though, that Anh was strong and determined in prison and hasn’t lost his spirit. 

Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.

Nguyen Ngoc Anh, born in Hanoi, majored in aquaculture at Nha Trang University. After moving to Ben Tre Province ten years ago, his family began to grow shrimp in ponds in Binh Hoa village, Binh Dai commune, Dinh Dai District.

On his Facebook account, he sometimes shares and comments on news such as the increasing of gasoline prices. He also appeared in some livestreams, which were initiated by Facebooker Hoang Ngoc Dieu, to debate about emerging social issues.

He got married to Nguyen Thi Chau in 2006. They currently have a four-year-old child.

Nguyen Thi Chau, Anh's wife, was one of 20 family members and supporters of political prisoners were physically attacked by thugs who they believed to be plain-clothes prison officers and public security officers while attempting to visit political prisoners on July 12, 2019. Activist Trinh Ba Phuong, son of Can Thi Theu, told VOA Vietnamese that the group was on its way to Prison No. 6 with some posters solely to visit and support prisoners such as Truong Minh Duc, who were on hunger strike at the time. When the visitors group tried to approach Camp 6 by car, a truck seemed to purposely park to block the road, so they decided to walk the rest of the way. This is where the attack took place. Activists Trinh Ba Khiem, Nguyen Thuy Hanh and Huynh Ngoc Chenh were not only physically assaulted, but their belongings, including money, phones, and personal documents were taken by the attackers.

After the attack, the group was forced to go back to the main road and was escorted to Vinh city, unable to complete the visit.

Read testimony about the attack, here

Arrested August 30, 2018. Sentenced to 6 years in prison and 5 years probation under Art. 117 (2015 Code). Expected Release is August 30, 2024.

August 30, 2018
  • Art. 117 (2015 Code)
Ben Tre province public security, Ben Tre province
Binh Hoa Village, Binh Dai Commune, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province (map)
June 6, 2019
The People's Court of Ben Tre Province
6 years in prison and 5 years probation
August 30, 2024
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • The European Union
  • Amnesty International
  • Human Rights Watch

Nguyen Thi Chau, Mr. Anh’s wife, said that he was detained on August 30 at around 11:00 am. At that time, he was on the way to meet the communal police in accordance with the summons order released a day before.

Police then came to his house to search and confiscated his laptop, phone, several USBs, and documents. In addition, many police in plainclothes also surrounded his house to observe his wife’s activities after his arrest.

On September 4, he was prosecuted under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code for “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam."

Thanh Nien newspaper, an internal newspaper, reported that from March 31 to August 14, Mr. Anh created two different Facebook account to share, upload, and livestream items with anti-government and anti-party content. Through those videos, Mr. Anh “propagated fabricated information, distorted, defamed the people’s administration, which resulted in suspicious, panic and anxious psychology among the people.” He was also accused of inciting people to protest on June 10 and preparing for another protest on September 2, a national day.

However, his wife pointed out the real reasons of his arrest were actually because he raised his voice on national issues such as bad governmental management on social issues; violations of human rights, especially freedom of expression; China’s aggression on the South China Sea dispute; corruption; and environmental pollution.

During the initial investigation, he will be temporarily detained for four months. During this time, his family will only be able to supply him with food and other items.

On September 4, to meet Anh’s requirement for representation, lawyer Dang Dinh Manh came to the Ben Tre Provincial Security Investigation Agency to carry out the procedure for defense registration for Mr. Anh. Mr. Anh’s request for a lawyer was also confirmed by security officials on the same day.

However, on September 6, the Ben Tre Security Investigation Agency suddenly sent out an announcement about Anh's alleged withdrawal of the registration of his lawyer.

This news was shared by his lawyer, Manh Dang. He also shared a copy of handwriting supposedly written by Anh on September 4 saying that he wanted to withdraw the request to hire a lawyer because his family’s finances were in trouble and that he could self-study to defend himself.

November 2018:

On November 19, Nguyen Ngoc Anh’s wife was not allowed to meet with Anh in prison but was said to send a letter to update him on news. Police have been questioning her on various subjects since his detention, including an alleged debt.

March 2019:

On March 11, 2019, Nguyen Ngoc Anh’s wife went to send him items at his detention center. However, a detention supervisor brought her to the main police station, which she first thought meant that they had completed their investigation into Anh. However, she was questioned for an hour and a half by four security officers while serving her son breakfast. All questions were about her friends on Facebook as well as her conversations. Police asked her to sign documents after the interrogation, but she refused. 

Nguyen Ngoc Anh’s father passed away in Hanoi on March 20, while Anh was in pre-trial detention. His wife and son were able to attend Anh's father’s funeral.

On March 29, Nguyen Ngoc Anh’s wife reported on her meeting with security forces. She was questioned about the "50k Fund” and “Environment Fund”, organizations that were established to support poor families affected by the harassment or imprisonment of a family member, as well as money that she received from these groups. All the questions were allegedly to find out more about her relationships and her financial situation.

April 2019:

On April 4, 2019, Nguyen Ngoc Anh and his family were finally able to meet after more than seven months. He revealed that his health was not good during the first four months in prison, but it has improved. His spirits have also lifted recently. Anh encouraged his wife not to worry about him and to be strong. He said he knows what to do in prison and that he is not lonely. The visit with his wife and son brought him much joy. 

June 2019:

On June 6, Nguyen Ngoc Anh was sentenced to six years in prison under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code for “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam" for expressing his views on national issues on Facebook, protesting the Formosa environmental disaster, supporting political prisoners, and calling for protests.

June 2019:

The EU condemned the decision against Anh after his June 6, 2019 trial and said he should be released, saying "Nguyen Ngoc Anh's right to peaceful freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution." Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch spoke out in support of Anh ahead of the trial. 

Profile last updated: 2019-09-10 03:16:33

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