Ha Van Nam

Current Status: Released - at risk

Photo of Ha Van Nam

Other Names: Hà Văn Nam

Date of Birth: January 1, 1981

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Business professional

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Freedom of expression

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Former Political Prisoner
  • Denial of Legal Representation

February 2021:

Ha Van Nam was released from prison after serving a 30-month sentence. After his release, Nam was given a hero’s welcome.


Details - Background, History of Activism, Contact Information.

Ha Van Nam, from Thai Binh province, was a driver before his arrest. His family is currently living in Thuy Phuong District, Ha Noi. He usually participated in charity activities, especially blood donation, and support for the poor and children, which were sometimes shared on his Facebook.

Profile photo source: Facebook Hà Văn Nam

Since 2018, Ha Van Nam, with his friends in the Facebook group named "Friends on the Long Road," has protested against toll stations, or Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), which were allegedly placed in the wrong areas and earned money unreasonably and for a prolonged period of time from the drivers. Some of those BOTs are Tan De, My Loc or Bac Thang Long-Noi Bai, etc.

Facebook Hà Văn Nam

Tài xế phản đối BOT, Hà Văn Nam bị bắt, Radio Free Asia, March 5, 2019

Facebook Hà Văn Nam

Vietnam’s BOT Dilemma: Activists at the Gates, The 88 Project, September 23, 2020

January 28, 2019: Ha Van Nam beaten harshly because of his protest at An Suong BOT toll station

Physical assault in a public space
January 28, 2019
A coffee shop in Thuy Phuong ward, Bac Tu Liem district, Ha Noi (map)

  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • equal protection of the law
  • political participation
  • freedom from discrimination

According to his wife, Tran Thi Nhai, Nam was arrested at 8:00 am while getting a beverage at the beginning of the lane. A group of people wearing masks dragged him into a car. At 11:30 am, he borrowed a cell phone and made a phone call to his wife, saying that he was released in front of a General Hospital of Dan Phuong District. He was bruised and had two broken ribs.

At that time, Ha Van Nam and other drivers were protesting against An Suong BOT toll station. In a video, he was likely forced into a car while some people whispered that: “bring to station”, which was normally understood as a police station.  Therefore, it was believed that he was arrested and beaten by security officers.

Arrested March 3, 2019. Sentenced to 2 years 6 months in prison under Art. 318 (2015 Code). Released February 4, 2021.

March 3, 2019
  • Art. 318 (2015 Code)
Bac Ninh province public security, Bac Ninh province
Thuy Phuong ward, Bac Tu Liem district, Ha Noi (map)
July 30, 2019
The People’s Court of Que Vo District, Bac Ninh province, Bac Ninh province
2 years 6 months in prison
September 3, 2021
February 4, 2021
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • fair trial
  • political participation
Amnesty International

On March 5, 2019, the Investigation Agency of Que Vo District, Bac Ninh Province released an announcement on the arrest of Ha Van Nam to investigate him on the alleged action of “disturbing public order” at Pha Lai BOT toll station on December 31, 2018. The place of this BOT was on National Highway 18, which crosses the area of Que Vo District.

At around 7:00 am on March 5, dozens of security officers of Que Vo District, Bac Ninh Province arrested Nam with an arrest order while he was staying at home. After bringing him to the police station of Bac Ninh province, a group of security officers searched his house and confiscated his phone.

May 2019:

On May 21, 2019, Ha Van Nam’s family announced that Nam refused all proposed defense counsels. This news was released by lawyer Tran Thu Nam, one of the six proposed lawyers who are willing to support him. Ha Van Nam was active in protesting against corrupt BOT toll stations and has been detained by the public security of Bac Ninh Province since early March. His refusal to accept defense counsel is likely derived from the pressure of public security.

July 2019:

A court in Bac Ninh province sentenced Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) protester Ha Van Nam to 30 months in prison on July 30 for "causing public disorder." Authorities allege he incited others to protest and block a highway. Six others-- Nguyen Quynh Phong, Le Van Khiem, Nguyen Tuan Quan, Vu Van Ha, Ngo Quang Hung, and Tran Quang Hai-- were convicted in the same trial, receiving sentences of between 18 and 36 months in prison. Supporters were barred from entering the courtroom. 

October 2019:

On October 18, 2019, the People’s Court of Bac Ninh province upheld the two year and six-month sentence for driver Ha Van Nam for “disturbing the public order," under Article 318 of the 2015 Penal Code. Nam was not permitted to defend himself at the appeal trial. 

Before the trial, Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser, gave a statement expressing concern about the trial and demanding Ha Van Nam's immediate and unconditional release. She said, “Ha Van Nam was peacefully reporting allegations of injustice, human rights violations and corruption in Vietnam. This vindictive prosecution simply proves his point.”

Profile last updated: 2021-02-10 00:52:19

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