Profile

Hoang Duc Binh

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Hoang Duc Binh

Other Names: Hoàng Đức Bình

Date of Birth: February 10, 1983

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Last Known Prison: An Diem prison, Dai Loc district, Quang Nam province

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Environment
  • Human rights
  • Labor rights
  • Sovereignty

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Torture
  • Denial of Adequate Medical Treatment or Supplies
  • Harsh Physical and Administrative Conditions
  • Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer
  • Infliction of Physical and Psychological Pain

December 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh was allowed to call home on Human Rights Day. His mother reported that his health was weak because he had not been eating prison food.

October 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh’s mother, Pham Thi Van, reported that she was able to talk to her son for a second time in October and she said that Binh was in good spirits. It had been over a year since she last saw Binh, partly because of Covid, partly because Binh always refuses to wear a prison uniform when the family visits, insisting that he’s wrongly imprisoned. He said for the past six months he only ate what the family sent him, and not prison food.

Details - History of Activism, Family Situation.

Binh is the vice president of the independent Viet Labour Movement and a member of “No-U Saigon,” a soccer group that protests China’s sweeping claims on the South China Sea. He is also a well-known blogger who covered news on the environmental disaster caused by Formosa. He actively worked with the Catholic community in Nghe An province to help them obtain compensations for the damages caused by the Formosa environmental disaster.

State-owned newspaper accused him of "often posting and sharing on his personal Facebook account information and materials that propagandize against the regime and advocate for pluralism and multi-parties. Taking advantage of the environmental incident in the central coast, as the vice president of ‘Viet Labor Movement,’ Hoang Duc Binh had pushed for and formed a ‘Union for Fishermen in the Central Region’ [Hiep hoi ngu dan mien Trung], with the intention to build a peripheral organization, to gather forces and incite Catholic people and fishermen from the Central region to participate in his organization; searching for a ‘nuclear factor’ to incite protests and disrupt security and order." (translation by HRW)

Watch an interview (in Vietnamese, with English subtitles) with Hoang Duc Binh, where he explains in his own words why he was inspired to begin his activism. 

March 2018:

Hoang Duc Binh had been unable to meet with his family since being imprisoned nearly a year ago. 

Hoang Binh Facebook

Defend the Defenders's archives

Front Line Defenders's profile of Hoang Duc Binh 

Vietnamese Environmental Activist's Sentence Upheld on Appeal, Radio Free Asia, April 24, 2018

Vietnam jails environmental blogger for 14 years, Reuters, February 6, 2018

Environmental Activist Hoang Duc Binh Completes Second Year in Prison, Subjected to Harsh Treatment, The 88 Project, May 15, 2019

Appeal for Help from Hoang Duc Binh's Mother, The 88 Project, May 24, 2018

Watch an interview (in Vietnamese, with English subtitles) with Hoang Duc Binh, where he explains in his own words why he was inspired to begin his activism. 

Arrested May 15, 2017. Sentenced to 14 years in prison under Art. 330 (2015 Code), Art. 331 (2015 Code). Expected Release is May 15, 2031.

May 15, 2017
  • Art. 330 (2015 Code)
  • Art. 331 (2015 Code)
(map)
February 6, 2018
Ha Huy Son
14 years in prison
May 15, 2031

Hoang Duc Binh was arrested on May 15, 2017, in Nghe An province when he escorted Catholic priest Nguyen Dinh Thuc from the Song Ngoc parish in Dien Chau district to Vinh city. The police stopped their car in Dien Chau district’s center and violently removed Binh from the car. According to the arrest order, Binh was charged with “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 and “Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code. In August 2017, authorities added another charge against Binh, Article 143 (“destroying or deliberately damaging property”).

June 2017

Binh was transferred from Nghe An province’s temporary detention center to the detention center B14 in Hanoi. His family only found out about the transfer when they went to Nghe An province on June 15 to send him supplies.

November 2017:

The authorities extended Binh's pre-trial detention and investigation period. Binh remained under investigation until January 6, 2018.

January 2018:

Binh faced two charges - “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties,” under Article 330, and “Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State,” under Article 331, of the new 2015 Criminal Code. 

He and Nguyen Nam Phong were supposed to face trial on January 25, but the trial was rescheduled just before it was about to begin. 

February 2018:

Hoang Duc Binh was sentenced to 14 years in prison; Nguyen Nam Phong was sentenced to two years. Binh was particularly targeted for livestreaming a march against Taiwanese company Formosa, whose pollution caused a massive environmental disaster that began in April 2016. Binh received one of the harshest prison terms for a known prisoner at this time. At trial, he affirmed that he made comments about police brutality during the livestream, but he also maintained that this was not a criminal act because it was the truth.

March 2018:

Hoang Duc Binh has been unable to meet with his family since being imprisoned nearly a year ago. They feared he was in poor health. 

April 2018:

Environmental activist Hoang Duc Binh appealed his 14-year sentence on April 24, but the appeal was denied, and his sentence was upheld by a court in Nghe An province. 

September 2018:

Hoang Duc Binh was suffering from ear pain in prison, he told his brother at a visit. He said the pain stemmed from his assault when he was arrested in May 2017. Binh had been facing extremely difficult conditions in prison, housed in a cell with death row prisoners and denied adequate nutrition. 

January 2019:

Hoang Duc Binh is in poor health in prison, with rashes, back pain, and diminished eyesight from a lack of light. 

February 2019:

In an official document sent to the family, prison officials deemed Hoang Duc Binh to be serving his 14-year imprisonment “badly." Binh is subject to worse treatment in prison due to this. Throughout his sentence, he has struggled with various health ailments. At a visit in late January, a prison guard reportedly tore up a paper flower that Binh had made as a gift for his family, and he also alleges that the prison has not allowed him to send any letters home. 

September 2019:

On September 3, 2019, Hoang Duc Binh sent a letter to his younger brother, Hoang Nguyen. In the letter, Binh told his brother to ask for instructions from lawyers on how to send petition letters to different bodies of the government, such as the President’s Office, the Supreme Court of Vietnam, and the Law Committee of the Assembly. Binh plans to write about his trial, which he believes was fundamentally wrong.

**

On September 14, 2019, Hoang Nguyen, brother Hoang Duc Binh, visited Binh in prison. According to Nguyen’s post on Facebook, Binh’s health has been stable, and they were happy to hear about Nguyen Van Hoa, who is in the same prison as Binh and was returned to the main prison after spending the past four months in solitary confinement. 

February 2020:

Binh’s brother visited him during Tet, the Lunar New Year, and reported that he is doing well. But, in the past, he has endured treatment amounting to torture, including being housed in a cell with death row prisoners who assaulted and threatened him. The Vietnamese government has agreed to allow the EU Delegation to Vietnam to visit Binh and others in prison, but it is unknown if those visits have occurred.

March 2020:

On March 4, 2020, the family of political prisoner Hoang Duc Binh received his letter dated February 2, 2020. Writing from An Diem Prison, Quang Nam province, Binh said that the prison officials always check his letters before sending them out, violating his privacy and personal freedom. More importantly, they even summon Binh and interrogate him about the contents of the letters. However, he noted that he has been able to receive most of the books sent to him, and he also sent his Lunar New Year greetings to friends, activists, and supporters who have helped and written many letters to him during his imprisonment.

November 2020:

On November 23, Hoang Duc Binh’s family was denied a visit with him again at An Diem Prison, allegedly due to Binh’s refusal to wear a prison uniform, as he insists that he is not a criminal. The same thing happened the month prior.

January 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh was denied visits from his family once again. His brother Hoang Nguyen said, “This morning, I submitted my papers and visit request to the prison officials at An Diem, and after waiting for over 30 minutes I was told I could not see my brother.” Binh has been denied family visits before for insisting he was innocent and refusing to wear a prison uniform.

***

Update: 

After many months not being allowed to visit him, Hoang Duc Binh’s family finally received a letter from him saying that he’s been suffering from sinusitis and was not allowed to receive traditional medication that the family sent. His health is deteriorating; he had asked to be taken to the hospital, offering to pay for the costs himself, but the request has been repeatedly denied. Binh had been writing home regularly, but for some unknown reason, his letters never reached his family.

March 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh’s family tried to visit him and bring supplies on March 24, but their request was denied for the fourth consecutive time. The family expressed their concern about Binh’s health. Regarding his sinusitis, they said that, “Although he had previously requested to see the doctor and Binh would pay all the expenses, the prison authorities still denied his request.” He is allotted only one letter and one 10-minute phone call home per month, both of which are intensely monitored by prison authorities.

April 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh’s brother, Hoang Nguyen, reported on April 24 that he was not allowed to visit him in prison for the fifth straight time. It has been a year since the last time the family could see Binh. Even food that they sent to him at An Diem Prison in Quang Nam Province was sent back.

June 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh and several other political prisoners staged a semi-hunger strike at An Diem prison for various reasons, according to his younger brother Hoang Nguyen, who spoke with Binh over the phone. The men have been refusing all food from the prison for the past 50 days. The situation is especially precarious since An Diem Prison only allows prisoners to receive a maximum 7Kg of food from their families each month. Binh said he was protesting against his unjust conviction as well as not being allowed to lodge his complaints against abuse by prison officials, which he is guaranteed by the law.

July 2021:

Hoang Duc Binh was able to call his family. His brother Hoang Nguyen reported that Binh is in poor health due to the mini-hunger strike that he and a group of prisoners have been holding for over 85 days; they don’t eat prison food but only food sent in by the family.

September 2021:

In a call home, Hoang Duc Binh complained that he was discriminated against by prison guards. He said they did not let him cook congee or buy rice. During the call, when he asked his family to contact his lawyer to file a complaint about his case, the guard listening on the line threatened to cut off the call. After a short argument, his call was indeed cut off. 

 

January 2018:

Hoang Duc Binh told Nguoi Viet that he was beaten in prison.

Lawyer Ha Huy Son met with Binh on January 24, at Nghi Kim Detention Center in Nghe An province and reported that Binh was in good spirits and his health was normal, although he looked thinner and still had back pain. 

July 2018:

Hoang Duc Binh was facing extremely difficult conditions in prison. Binh was housed in a cell with death row prisoners who assaulted and threatened him.  Binh was forced to use his meager 48.00 VND (2 USD) daily to buy food for all prisoners in his cell. His nutrition has been very poor, eating only rice with some fish sauce or soy sauce for long periods of time. These physical conditions have caused his health to decline immensely. In protest of his mistreatment, Binh had recently undertaken a hunger strike.

Authorities had recently transferred him to a prison far from home, and his family was not notified in advance of the move. Binh is now in An Diem prison, Quang Nam province, in central Vietnam, over 500 km from his home province of Nghe An.

May 2019:

On May 23, Hoang Duc Binh’s family went to visit him at An Diem Detention Center, Quang Nam province. Binh was in very poor health due to being on hunger strike. Binh, political prisoner Nguyen Bac Truyen, and other prisoners started a hunger strike on May 12 to protest against the detention center torturing fellow political prisoner Nguyen Van Hoa. On May 12, 2019, a detention center officer at An Diem forced Hoa to sign a report with many blank spaces. Hoa revealed to other prisoners that he refused to sign because the authorities could later fill those blank spaces with false content to punish him. After that, public security forces and detention officers beat him harshly, causing bruises, and took him away without an official punishment decision. 

***

According to an update from Hoa’s sister, who went to visit him at An Diem Detention Center on May 28, 2019, Hoa’s health is fine now in spite of being beaten and held in solitary confinement for ten days. He was released but will still have to be isolated in one room at camp K1 for the next six months. As of May 27, there was one prisoner who stopped his hunger strike, while political prisoners Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Bac Truyen, as well as one other, kept striking in solidarity with Hoa, Hoa said. Those striking are said to be unaware of Hoa's current condition.
 
Hoang Duc Binh's mother sent a letter to international governments and organizations pleading with them to intervene and free Binh and other political prisoners: "As a mother, I cannot stay silent and let my child perish in prison while my other children are denied honest work and threatened about their life."

January 2018:

Human Rights Watch called for Binh and Phong's releases ahead of the scheduled trial. Brad Adams, Asia Director, stated: “There is no sign that Vietnam is slowing down its intensive crackdown on rights activists in the last 14 month." 

February 2018:

Heather Nauert, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, released a statement speaking out against the convictions of Binh and Phong, stating: "The United States is deeply troubled that a Vietnamese court has convicted and sentenced peaceful labor and environmental activist Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong to fourteen years and two years in prison, respectively, under vague articles of the Penal code."
 
On February 23, UN human rights experts called on the government of Vietnam to release individuals jailed for protesting the Formosa chemical spill.
 
Amnesty International released a new Urgent Action for Hoang Duc Binh, calling for Binh's release from prison and protection from mistreatment thereafter.
 
December 2018:
 
According to a press release from the Vietnam Human Rights Network on November 30, they will award three Human Rights Awards in 2018 to the following activists: Hoang Duc Binh, Tran Thi Nga, and Pham Doan Trang. Binh is an environmental activist serving 14 years in prison, Nga is a land and labor rights activist serving nine years, and Trang is a dissident writer who promotes political participation and human rights in Vietnam. 
 
February 2019
 
Nine members of the European Parliament sent a letter to Vietnam's President urging the release of Hoang Duc Binh. The letter reiterated messages from previous months that Vietnam must respect human rights as a condition for the EU moving forward with ratification of the proposed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. The agreement is in its final stages, however its ratification has allegedly been delayed for "technical reasons."
 
May 2019:
 
May 15, 2019 marked two years since Hoang Duc Binh was arrested. Take action for Binh on the occasion of the second anniversary of his arrest. Share this article, featuring his latest case updates and an interview video with Binh about his inspirations for becoming an activist, to highlight his case.

Profile last updated: 2021-12-17 22:48:54

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