Nguyen Van Vien

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Nguyen Van Vien

Other Names: Nguyễn Văn Viễn

Date of Birth: 1971

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

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

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Environment

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Prolonged Incommunicado Detention

March 2020:

On March 2, 2020, the High People’s Court, Ho Chi Minh City branch, upheld the decisions from lower courts in the case of Chau Van Kham, Nguyen Van Vien, and Tran Van Quyen, upholding also their prison sentences of 12, 11 and 10 years, respectively. Kham, Vien, and Quyen were accused of being involved in “terrorist activities against the people’s regime.” They are allegedly members of Viet Tan, a pro-democracy political organization which is considered a terrorist group by Vietnamese government. Kham is an Australian citizen and was accused of using a fake ID to go to Vietnam; he argues that other than this, he has committed no crime and only wishes for improved conditions in Vietnam. He is facing several health issues. Vien and Quyen were accused of receiving money from Kham. Many attorneys have said that the sentences and accusations are harsh and arbitrary.

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Vien was living in Ho Chi Minh City prior to arrest. He is from Quang Nam Province.

Profile photo Source: Brotherhood for Democracy

Vien is a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy and also became active in environmental efforts following the massive 2016 Formosa environmental disaster. His activism led to him having to move to Ho Chi Minh City

Arrested January 13, 2019. Sentenced to 11 years in prison under Art. 113 (2015 Code). Expected Release is January 13, 2030.

January 13, 2019
  • Art. 113 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
Ho Chi Minh City (map)
November 11, 2019
The People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City
11 years in prison
January 13, 2030
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of association
  • fair trial
Human Rights Watch

Vietnam arrested two more activists, Chau Van Kham, an Australian citizen, and Nguyen Van Vien, a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, on January 13 in Ho Chi Minh City. Vien had become an environmental activist in the aftermath of the Formosa environmental disaster. He is supposedly charged under Article 109 of the 2015 Criminal Code for subversion. According to a press release from the Brotherhood for Democracy, police arrested Vien when he was on the way to pick up Kham, who was in Vietnam for a “fact-finding” mission. Police then went to search Vien’s home the next day on January 14, where they also threatened his wife.

He is probably detained at Phan Dang Luu Temporary Detention Facility in Ho Chi Minh City. 

November 2019:

On November 11, Australian citizen and retiree Chau Van Kham was sentenced to 12 years in prison, local activist Nguyen Van Vien to 11 years, and camera installer Tran Van Quyen to ten years. They were convicted on charges of “terrorism" under Article 113 of the 2015 Criminal Code, having been targeted for being part of overseas democracy group Viet Tan. Vien is also a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy. All three men were arrested in January 2019 and originally charged under Article 109 of the 2015 Criminal Code, for subversion.

November 2019:

Human Rights Watch called for Kham and his co-defendants' releases ahead of their trial. 
December 2019:
Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter to Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, urging her to press for the release of Australian citizen Chau Van Kham and his co-defendants, Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen. The three were tried in November and handed long prison sentences, targeted for their affiliation with overseas pro-democracy group Viet Tan. Elaine Pearson, Australia director of HRW, said of the men: “They are being prosecuted simply for their affiliation with a foreign political group deemed a threat to the Communist Party of Vietnam.” HRW also raised concerns about potential procedural issues with the detentions and the trial. Read the full letter, here.

Vietnam Arrests Two More Democracy Advocates, Radio Free Asia, January 25, 2019

One More Member of BFD Arrested, Charged with Subversion, Radio Free Asia, January 25, 2019

Brotherhood for Democracy press release, January 24, 2019

Vietnam: Drop Terrorism Charges Against Political Campaigners, Human Rights Watch, November 7, 2019

Australian citizen jailed in Vietnam for 'terrorism', Yahoo, November 11, 2019

Australia: Press for Release of Vietnam Detainee, Human Rights Watch, December 4, 2019

Retired Australian baker loses appeal in Vietnam on controversial 'financing terrorism' charges, The Guardian, March 2, 2020

Profile last updated: 2020-03-19 03:39:09

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