Nguyen Hoang Nam
Current Status: Released - at risk
Other Names: Nguyễn Hoàng Nam
Date of Birth: 1982
Religion: Buddhist (Hòa Hảo)
Last Known Prison: Xuan Loc prison, Dong Nai province
Areas of Activism:
- Religious freedom
Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:
- Former Political Prisoner
- Harsh Physical and Administrative Conditions
- Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer
- Infliction of Physical and Psychological Pain
Nguyen Hoang Nam, an independent Hoa Hao Buddhist in An Giang Province who just got out of prison after serving his four years for “causing public disorder,” told VOA that detention conditions at the Xuan Loc Prison are very harsh. He said prisoners are confined to a narrow space, are not allowed to exercise, that food provided to prisoners is not hygienic, soup is very dirty, that food from the canteen is often expired and with a bad smell, and that drinking water is contaminated. Worse yet, prices are 20-40 percent higher than outside.
Details - Background.
For more background on the harassment of members of the Hoa Hao Buddhist sect, you can view this video (in Vietnamese, with English subtitles), which highlights the struggle of Hoa Hao Buddhist and former political prisoner Mai Thi Dung, who endured horrible treatment in prison.
Arrested June 27, 2017. Sentenced to 4 years in prison under Art. 245 (1999 Code). Expected Release is June 27, 2021.
- Art. 245 (1999 Code)
- freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
- liberty and security of the person
- freedom of expression
- freedom of peaceful assembly
- fair trial
- freedom of belief and religion
Six Hoa Hao Buddhists: Bui Van Trung, Bui Van Tham, Nguyen Hoang Nam, Le Thi Hong Hanh, Le Thi Hen, and Bui Thi Bich Tuyen were tried on February 9 in An Giang province. Bui Van Tham was charged under Article 257 (“resisting persons in the performance of their official duties”) and Article 245 (“causing public disorder”), while the other five were charged under Article 245 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Trung and Tham were sentenced to six years in prison; Nam was sentenced to four; Hanh and Tuyen were sentenced to three; and Hen was given a two-year suspended sentence. According to the indictment by the People's Procuracy of An Phu district on November 30, 2017 (available in Vietnamese here), the defendants "disturbed the public order and impacted the safety and order of the traffic, causing a traffic jam on national route 91C by hindering, obstructing, pushing, and screaming to provoke and denounce transportation police." According to supporters, this is a case of repression against Hoa Hao Buddhist disciples who came for the commemoration of the death of Bui Van Trung's mother at Ut Trung sangha. The cermony was violently attacked by authorities.
On May 24, a Vietnamese Court in An Giang province denied Nguyen Hoang Nam's and five other Hoa Hao Buddhists' appeals of their February 2018 sentences. Authorities tried to prohibit relatives and other Hoa Hao Buddhist followers from attending the appeal trial in support of the six.
News from a monk on Facebook revealed that political prisoners Bui Van Trung and Nguyen Hoang Nam were transferred away from Phuoc Hoa detention center in Tien Giang Province on November 14 because of their protests against forced labor in prison. Bui Van Trung was transferred to An Phuoc detention center in Binh Duong Province, while Nguyen Hoang Nam was moved to Xuan Loc detention center in Dong Nai Province. The monk also reminded his followers of Nguyen Hoang Nam’s previous incident when he protested against police at Bang Lang detention center, Kien Giang Province, for handcuffing Trung’s hands on the way to Phuoc Ha detention center during a previous transfer. Two officers shot at his eyes with electric rods, causing prolonged pain in his eyes and head that has persisted.
Nguyen Hoang Nam and Nguyen Van Duc Do were on hunger strike in Xuan Loc prison camp in Dong Nai province. Nam began the strike on October 11 to protest being transferred to a cell with a prisoner sentenced on drug charges. It is not uncommon for prison authorities to detain dissidents with criminal cellmates as a means of intimidation.
Update: On October 25, 2019, Nguyen Hoang Nam stopped his hunger strike after six days. After six days, the prison managers moved him back to his old cell, so he stopped the strike.
Human Rights Watch called on the Vietnamese government to halt the trial and take time to evaluate whether this was a case of persecution and discrimination based on religious belief. “The government should stop harassing and arresting those who belong to unsanctioned religious groups and leave people to practice their faith as they see fit," said Brad Adams, Asia Director, in the appeal.
The EU's External Action division also denounced the sentences, calling on Vietnam to release those jailed for their beliefs and peaceful practices and to uphold international human rights obligations to protect freedom of religion.
Hoa Hao Buddhist Family, Friends Handed Prison Terms in Vietnam, Radio Free Asia, February 9, 2018
Vụ đàn áp đạo tràng Út Trung: Kế hoạch đàn áp tôn giáo qui mô ở diện rộng, Dan Lam Bao, February 2018
Vietnamese Hoa Hao Follower Goes on Hunger Strike in Prison, Radio Free Asia, October 16, 2019
TNLT Nguyễn Hoàng Nam ngưng tuyệt thực, Radio Free Asia Vietnamese, October 25, 2019
Tù nhân lương tâm Nguyễn Hoàng Nam: cảnh sát cho chó đàn áp tù nhân ở trại Xuân Lộc, VOA Vietnamese, July 27, 2021
Profile last updated: 2021-08-25 00:34:11