Truong Duy Nhat
Current Status: Pre-trial detention
Other Names: Trương Duy Nhất
Date of Birth: January 31, 1964
Current Prison: T16 Detention Center, Hanoi
Areas of Activism:
- Freedom of expression
- Human rights
The Ministry of Public Security has opened up a case against Truong Duy Nhat for an alleged "fraudulent purchase of land." Police also searched Nhat's house. The search warrant was reported to be dated from January 16. Nhat was arrested on January 28.
It is now believed that Thai authorities assisted Vietnam in the kidnapping of Truong Duy Nhat in January, according to information obtained by Amnesty International. Nhat was attempting to seek asylum in Thailand, when he was abducted and returned to Vietnam. This is indicative of a larger pattern of cooperation between Asian authorities to detain and deport activists in coordinated forced disappearances. Local officers detained Nhat and stayed with him for a few hours before driving him to meet with Vietnamese officials.
Details - Background, History of Activism.
Truong Duy Nhat is from Da Nang province.
Profile photo source: Teu Blog via The Vietnamese
Truong Duy Nhat worked as a journalist for state-run media before leaving to start his own blog, “A Different Viewpoint” (Một Góc Nhìn Khác). In 2013, he was arrested for this blog, which often featured content critical of the state, and was later sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms” under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code. He was released in 2015. Prior to his most recent arrest, he had recently been working as a Vietnamese-language contributor for Radio Free Asia.
The 88 Project’s archives
January 26, 2019: kidnapped from Thailand after attempting to claim asylum
- Forced disappearance
- Persecution while seeking asylum abroad
- freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
- humane treatment in detention
- freedom of movement
- Reporters Without Borders
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- US government
- Amnesty International
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Former political prisoner Truong Duy Nhat went missing on January 26, the day after he attempted to claim asylum status in Thailand after fleeing Vietnam in the weeks prior. Some sources say he was abducted from a popular mall in Bangkok.
Nhat allegedly left Vietnam for Thailand after he found out that he faced risk of re-arrest. Some say Nhat potentially had information that could be damaging to the Vietnamese Prime Minister and feared that Nhat was abducted by Vietnamese agents. Thai officials said they did not have a record of Nhat’s entry into the country but were investigating his disappearance. Truong Duy Nhat’s wife, Cao Thi Xuan Phuong, appealed to the Vietnamese government and international community for help in finding her husband.
After being missing for almost two months, Truong Duy Nhat was later located -- in prison in Vietnam. His family confirmed on March 20 that he was indeed arrested and brought back to Vietnam; he was put in jail on January 28, after attempting to seek asylum in Thailand just days prior, and is currently imprisoned at T16 temporary detention facility in Hanoi.
His wife attempted to meet with him there but was refused a visit. Some observers allege Vietnam violated its own law in arresting Nhat -- they did not inform the family of the arrest nor issue an arrest warrant.
Authorities denied Truong Duy Nhat supplies. Nhat, a blogger and former political prisoner, was kidnapped from Thailand in January where he was attempting to seek asylum, and was later located in prison in Hanoi. Nhat's wife, Cao Thi Ngoc Phuong, and writer Xuan Nguyen Pham attempted to visit Nhat on April 22 but were barred from seeing him and could only leave some money for him, not supplies. However, in March, his wife was able to leave some supplies for him. A prison official told them that there was an order prohibiting them from sending supplies. She tried to investigate the matter further, but could not obtain more information about that order.
The US supported the investigation that Thailand launched in response to the disappearance. Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists all called for immediate investigation into Nhat’s disappearance.
Once he was located, several human rights groups called for clarity in the case, as well as for Nhat's current status and his immediate release, and information on any possible role that Thai authorities played in the alleged abduction.
Twenty-five members of the US Congress sent a letter to the US Secretary of State urging the US to press for better protections for freedom of expression in Vietnam, citing Vietnam's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The letter highlighted the cases of imprisoned journalists Nguyen Van Hoa and Le Anh Hung and blogger Truong Duy Nhat, who was kidnapped from Thailand while attempting to seek asylum and imprisoned back in Vietnam.
Amnesty International released an Urgent Action for Truong Duy Nhat, who was forcibly returned to Vietnam while attempting to seek asylum in Thailand. They call on Thai authorities to investigate his kidnapping, which they are now believed to have assisted in facilitating.
On June 25, 2019, the OHCHR Asia made public a joint communication to the Thai and Vietnamese governments on Truong Duy Nhat and Bach Hong Quyen, in which UN human rights experts expressed concerns about the two activists’ arbitrary arrest, in particular, the arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, and subsequent forced repatriation of Truong Duy Nhat, and the surveillance and intimidation of Bach Hong Quyen. The communication can be read here.
Former Political Prisoner, Truong Duy Nhat, Disappeared in Thailand After Seeking Refugee Status with UN, The Vietnamese, February 1, 2019
Radio Free Asia Vietnamese Blogger Missing Amid Abduction Reports, Radio Free Asia, February 5, 2019
Thailand to investigate disappearance of Vietnamese asylum-seeker, Reuters, February 7, 2019
Investigation ordered into disappeared Vietnamese blogger in Bangkok, Bangkok Post, February 8, 2019
Wife of Missing Vietnamese Blogger Makes Plea for Help to Vietnamese Government, Radio Free Asia, February 13, 2019
Vietnam Takes Aim at Radio Free Asia, Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2019
Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand jailed in Hanoi, Channel News Asia, March 21, 2019
Vietnam Broke Its Own Laws in Arrest of Blogger Spirited from Thailand-Experts, Radio Free Asia, March 22, 2019
Detained RFA Blogger Not Allowed to Receive Supplies in Prison From Wife, Radio Free Asia, April 23, 2019
US Lawmakers Urge Greater Push For Vietnam Press Freedoms, Radio Free Asia, May 29, 2019
Vietnamese Police Search Home of Jailed RFA Blogger Truong Duy Nhat in ‘Land Fraud’ Investigation, Radio Free Asia, June 10, 2019
Thai Police Helped Vietnam Abduct RFA Blogger: Rights Group, Radio Free Asia, June 21, 2019
Thailand: Authorities must investigate abduction of Vietnamese journalist, Amnesty International, June 21, 2019
Profile last updated: 2019-07-10 16:46:47