Tran Thanh Phuong

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

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Other Names: Trần Thanh Phương

Date of Birth:

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Current Prison: HCM city Police detention center, No. 4 Phan Dang Luu, Ho Chi Minh city

Areas of Activism:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty

Known Afilliations:

  • Hiến Pháp

October 2019:

Relatives of five detained members of the Hien Phap group, which aims to educate citizens about their constitutional rights, are planning to sue the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department, alleging that their loved ones were arrested without warrants and held for many weeks in unknown locations before the families were notified. The five cases represented are those of Ngo Van Dung, Doan Thi HongHoang Thi Thu VangHo Dinh Cuong, and Tran Thanh Phuong. The families also say that they have not received notice on the various extensions of the fives' investigation periods. All were arrested in September 2018 and remain in pre-trial detention. They have also not been permitted to meet with their lawyers and were only allowed to meet with their families for the first time last month. 


Eight activists will face trial by the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City on March 10 on charges of "disrupting security" under Article 118 of the 2015 Criminal Code. The eight have been detained without trial for almost a year and a half. Authorities have previously postponed the trial twice. The group of eight defendants includes Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, Hoang Thi Thu VangDo The HoaHo Dinh CuongTran Thanh PhuongNgo Van DungDoan Thi Hong and Le Quy Loc. Some are members of the Hien Phap group, established on June 16, 2017, with the aim to promote peoples' understanding of their human rights under the 2013 Constitution. 

Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.

He was living in Ho Chi Minh City before his arrest.

He is a member of Hien Phap (Constitution) group, advocating for people to have knowledge about human rights, political rights, and civil rights, which are provided for in Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution.

He and his colleagues in the group participated in the nationwide protesting against two draft legislations on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity on June 10, 2018.

They also called for a demonstration on September 4 for the occasion of the Vietnam Independence Day but were arrested before the scheduled day of the demonstration.

He is married and has two daughters. 

December 2018:

On December 4, Le Khanh went to No. 4, Phan Dang Luu street to send her husband, Tran Thanh Phuong, some supplies because she had not been allowed to meet with him since his September 1 arrest. Upon arrival, police summoned her to work in a room right away. She asked to see an official document for this summons, however, they argued that it was a "direct summon," which does not need an order. Police admitted that they previously confiscated her daughter’s phone for investigation, despite promising to give it back the next day. Police also said that they sent an official announcement on Phuong’s arrest but did not clarify when and how they sent it, because Khanh did not receive it. At the end of the working session, police asked Khanh to bring the couple's 13-year-old daughter for a working session. Phuong was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City on September 1. In October and December, police had also tried to summon his daughter for questioning about her father's activities.

Arrested September 1, 2018.

September 1, 2018
Binh Tan district public security, Ho Chi Minh city
Go May Crossroad, Binh Hung Hoa ward, Binh Tan district, Ho Chi Minh City (map)
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • freedom of association
  • political participation

On September 1, Facebooker Phuong Tran was arrested by police of Binh Hung Hoa Ward, Binh Tan district, Ho Chi Minh City. His wife and daughters came to his detention location but were threatened to be arrested. Police detained Phuong without announcing to his family any formal reason about his arrest.

The main reasons of his arrest could be because of his involvement in the Hien Phap (Constitution) group, which is not recognized by the authorities, and/or his participation in demonstrations against two draft laws on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity on June 10, 2018.

He is now held at Ho Chi Minh city police temporary detention center, located at No.4, Phan Dang Luu Street, Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Minh city.

October 2018:

Forty-five days after Phuong was arrested without formal charges his 13-year-old daughter was summoned to the police station regarding her father’s arrest, on October 15, 2018. She was asked to go with her mother, Le Thi Khanh, to the police station where Phuong was detained, at No.4, Phan Dang Luu Street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Le Thi Khanh also said the reason for this summons was because of her daughter’s video clip and pictures uploaded on Facebook on September 1, the day of her husband’s arrest. She recorded a video in front of the ward police headquarters in case her father was tortured and also took some pictures of police coming to their house that morning. 

Police confiscated her phone, promised to send it back the next day, but still kept it. They also came to their house and threatened them that if they did not follow the first summons orders, they would send more summons or force them to come.

February 2019:

Tran Thanh Phuong has been detained in Vietnam since September 2018. He was arrested as part of a crackdown on Hien Phap, a constitutional rights group, ahead of planned protests for Vietnam's Independence Day. Phuong's wife, Le Thi Khanh, has not been able to see him since the early days of his arrest, and she is only permitted to send food once every two months. Authorities have tried to summon Phuong and Khanh's teenage daughter for questioning. Charges against Phuong are still unknown. Khanh believes he was expressing his rights in line with Vietnam's Constitution. Read more on this case, from The Vietnamese

July 2019:

On July 18, 2019, the families of five activists -- Ngo Van Dung, Ho Dinh Cuong, Tran Thanh Phuong, Doan Thi Hong, and Hoang Thi Thu Vang -- sent a letter to the Prime Minister and many other government institutions denouncing the fives' unlawful arrests and detentions over a period of more than 10 months. According to the letter, in September 2018, all of the five activists were arrested without official warrants. Since their arrests, they have been held in Ho Chi Minh City's detention center. The public security of Ho Chi Minh City announced to the families that four of them are charged with “disrupting public order” under Article 118 Penal Code, with a possible sentence of between seven and 15 years in prison. All five still await trial.

Profile last updated: 2020-02-24 03:57:58

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