Le Thi Hen

Current Status: Likely released - at risk

Photo of Le Thi Hen

Other Names: Lê Thị Hên

Date of Birth:

Gender: F

Religion: Buddhist (Hòa Hảo)

Ethnicity: Kinh

Areas of Activism:

  • Religious freedom

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Former Political Prisoner

May 2018:

On May 24, a Vietnamese Court in An Giang province denied Le Thi Hen's and five other Hoa Hao Buddhists' appeals of their February 2018 sentences. 

Photo Source: Human Rights Watch (Dao Trang Ut Trung)

Details - Background.

Le Thi Hen is a Hoa Hao Buddhist disciple.

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, 2017. Sentenced to 2 years probation under Art. 245 (1999 Code). Expected Release is June, 2019.

June, 2017
  • Art. 245 (1999 Code)
An Phu district public security, An Giang province
February 9, 2018
The People's Court of An Phu district, An Giang province
2 years probation
June, 2019
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • freedom of association
  • fair trial
  • freedom of belief and religion

Le Thi Hen was indicted by the police of An Phu district on June 20, 2017, but she was not detained while waiting for the trial. She was given a two-year suspended sentence at trial and will not serve that sentence in detention. 

February 2018:

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. 

May 2018:

On May 24, a Vietnamese Court in An Giang province denied Le Thi Hen'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.


She was due for release from prison in June 2019. The 88 Project has been unable to verify her release, and thus, we have listed her as "likely released - at risk." We acknowledge that she may still be imprisoned, and if she was released, she may still be at risk of harassment or even rearrest.

Hen was given a two-year suspended sentence due to her poor health. 

February 2018:

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.

Profile last updated: 2020-08-07 17:33:11

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