Doan Thi Hong

Current Status: Released - at risk

Photo of Doan Thi Hong

Other Names: Đoàn Thị Hồng

Date of Birth: October 10, 1983

Gender: F

Ethnicity: Kinh

Last Known Prison: An Phuoc detention center, Binh Duong province

Areas of Activism:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Former Political Prisoner
  • Denial of Adequate Medical Treatment or Supplies
  • Prolonged Incommunicado Detention
  • Harsh Physical and Administrative Conditions
  • Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer

March 2021:

Doan Thi Hong was released after serving two and a half years in jail for protesting the draft Law on Cybersecurity in 2018. She was jailed even though the law prohibits imprisoning mothers with children under three years old. Since her arrest, her daughter has suffered psychological and speech problems. Hong will still be on probation for two years.

Hong is in poor health and has a tumor in her chest. The police confiscated Hong’s motorbike when they arrested her; she said they have not given it back, making it difficult for her to find work.

Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.

Doan Thi Hong, a single mom, was living in Binh Thuan Province prior to her arrest.

Hong was said to participate in the national demonstrations against the bills on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity on June 10, 2018.

She is also a member of Hien Phap (Constitution) group, established on June 16, 2017, with the aim to promote people’s understanding of their human rights in the 2015 Constitution.

Hong and other members planned to call for a peaceful demonstration on September 4, two days prior to their arrest, to raise their voice on social issues, including human rights violations, corruption, territorial disputes, and environmental pollution.

Doan Thi Hong has a toddler. Her child was under three years old at the time of her arrest. We analyzed procedural irregularities in this detention, most notably the unlawfulness of her detention as a mother of a child under 36 months old.

Arrested September 2, 2018. Sentenced to 2 years 6 months in prison and 2 years probation under Art. 118 (2015 Code). Released March 9, 2021.

September 2, 2018
  • Art. 118 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
Dong Hung Thuan Ward, District 12, Ho Chi Minh City (map)
July 31, 2020
The People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City
Nguyen Van Mieng
2 years 6 months in prison and 2 years probation
March 2, 2021
March 9, 2021
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • freedom of association
  • fair trial
  • political participation
US government

On September 2, while she was hanging out with friends, Hong was arrested by police of Dong Hung Thuan Sub-District, Ward 12, Ho Chi Minh City without neither an announcement of formal charges nor an arrest order.

After a long time looking for her, her family finally found her at a police station at No.4, Phan Dang Luu street, Binh Thanh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City but has not been allowed to meet with her.

The reason of her arrest was most likely due to her intention, along with Hien Phap’s members, to call for a peaceful demonstration on September 4.

Facebooker Thanh Thanh Phan, Hong’s sister, also reported that police confiscated a motorcycle that Hong borrowed from Nguyen Chi Dung. Police said that if this motorcycle belonged to Nguyen Chi Dung, they should write an order to police of Ward 12, where Hong was arrested, to take it back. However, if it belonged to Hong, it is impossible to get it back.

December 2018:

Activists Doan Thi Hong and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh were reportedly charged with “disrupting security” under Article 118 of the 2015 Criminal Code for their involvement in the Hien Phap group. They face up to 15 years in prison under the charge.

Updated: Police finally released an official document on Doan Thi Hong’s detention, which her sister, Doan Thi Khanh, had requested many times. This official document was sent to lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng and said that the People’s Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City had accepted Mieng's request to be Hong's defense counsel.

July 2019:

On July 18, 2019, the families of five activists -- Ngo Van Dung, Ho Dinh Cuong, Tran Thanh PhuongDoan 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. The public security of Ho Chi Minh City announced to the families that four of them were charged with “disrupting public order” under Article 118 Penal Code, with a possible sentence of between seven and 15 years in prison. 

October 2019:

On October 4, Doan Thi Hong's daughter was able to visit her mother in prison again.

Relatives of five detained members of the Hien Phap group were 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 were those of Ngo Van Dung, Doan Thi Hong, Hoang Thi Thu VangHo Dinh Cuong, and Tran Thanh Phuong. The families also said that they had not received notice on the various extensions of the fives' investigation periods. All were arrested in September 2018. They also were not permitted to meet with their lawyers and were only allowed to meet with their families for the first time in September 2019.

February 2020:

Eight activists were scheduled 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 were detained without trial for almost a year and a half. Authorities had 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.

March 2020:

According to Ngo Ngoc Trai, Doan Thi Hong’s attorney, her trial was to be held on March 10, 2020 before the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, but then postponed without any prior notice. No specific reason for the postponement was given, and the trial had already been re-scheduled multiple times. Hong was upset about the delayed trial, since she had complained to attorney Trai about the temporary detention conditions, where the authorities keep two people in a six square-meters room with no electricity and no fans.

July 2020:

After several postponements of the trial, on July 31, the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City sentenced eight defendants, some of whom are members of the Hien Phap constitutional rights group, to prison sentences ranging from two and a half years to-eight years on charges of “disrupting security.” The sentences were as follows:

  • Ngo Van Dung: five years in prison and two years of probation
  • Hoang Thi Thu Vang: seven years in prison and three years of probation
  • Do The Hoa: five years in prison and two years of probation
  • Ho Dinh Cuong: four and a half  years in prison and two years of probation
  • Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh: eight years in prison and three years of probation
  • Tran Thanh Phuong: three and a half years in prison and two years of probation
  • Le Quy Loc: five years in prison and three years of probation
  • Doan Thi Hong: two and a half years in prison and two years of probation

Family members and supporters were not allowed to attend the trial, and neither were US government representatives. One representative of the German Embassy was allowed to attend.

November 2020:

Four members of the Hien Phap (Constitution) group were transferred to An Phuoc Prison in Binh Duong on November 23. They are: Do The HoaTran Thanh PhuongHoang Thi Thu Vang, and Doan Thi Hong. Phuong was able to call his wife on that day, and he reported that he was suffering from high blood pressure.

September 2019:

On September 4, 2019, Doan Kim Khanh, sister of Doan Thi Hong, posted on Facebook about the health of her sister. According to her post, Hong was very weak and needed medical care. She has been suffering from several medical issues, including digestive disorders and vestibular problems. Hong, a single mother, was able to meet with her toddler daughter for the first time since her arrest. 

We analyzed procedural irregularities in this detention, most notably the unlawfulness of her detention as a mother of a child under 36 months old.


September 2019:

Amnesty International issed an Urgent Action calling for the release of Doan Thi Hong. She had been detained for over a year without trial, and when her family was finally able to visit her on September 4, 2019, they reported that her health had notably declined.

August 2020:

The US State Department released a statement condemning the imprisonment of Hien Phap group members, saying: “Although we have seen the Government of Vietnam take some positive steps on human rights in certain areas in Vietnam over the past few years, we are troubled about the growing trend of arrests of and harsh sentences for peaceful activists since early 2016.”

Profile last updated: 2021-03-22 16:20:34

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