Vu Thi Dung

Current Status: Released - at risk

Photo of Vu Thi Dung

Other Names: Vũ Thị Dung

Date of Birth: 1965

Gender: F

Ethnicity: Kinh

Areas of Activism:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Sovereignty

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Former Political Prisoner
  • Denial of Legal Representation

April 2023:

Vu Thi Dung was released early after serving nearly five years of her six-year sentence for “anti-state propaganda.” Her release followed the early release of Nguyen Thi Ngoc Suong last month. Both were arrested in 2018 for activities related to anti-China protests and opposition to the cybersecurity bill. It is not known why the authorities released them early.

Details - Background.

Vu Thi Dung lived in Tan Phu District, Dong Nai province prior to arrest.

Profile photo source (R, with co-defendant Nguyen Thi Ngoc Suong, L): Tuoi Tre Newspaper

Arrested October 13, 2018. Sentenced to 6 years in prison under Art. 117 (2015 Code). Released April, 2023.

October 13, 2018
  • Art. 117 (2015 Code)
Dong Nai province public security, Dong Nai province
Dinh Quan Town, Dinh Quan District, Dong Nai Province (map)
May 10, 2019
The People’s Court of Dong Nai Province
6 years in prison
October 13, 2024
April, 2023
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • fair trial
EU Delegation to Vietnam

On May 10, 2019, the People’s Court of Dong Nai province held the first instance trial against Vu Thi Dung and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Suong, and sentenced them to six and five years in prison, respectively. They were accused of “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code.

According to the indictment, Dung and Suong used many Facebook accounts, namely “Benny Truong” or “Tan Thai”, to read and listen to videos with “anti-state” content between August and October, 2018. On October 13, 2018, they allegedly incited a demonstration against China and the bills on Special Economics Zones and Cybersecurity. In addition, Dung allegedly created leaflets with anti-state content, and asked Suong to join her in distributing 117 leaflets in the area of Dinh Quan Town, Dinh Quan District. Both were arrested at that time.

However, according to activist Tran Thu Nguyet, one of these women’s families told her that on that day that she (one of two women) was arrested when selling bread in the market. The security forces brought her back to her house to search it and to check her phone. Although Nguyet recommended some lawyers to the families, the two women were tried without defense counsels. And their families, after sharing the information with Nguyet at the beginning, have since then stayed silent, most likely under pressure from the authorities.

In another status, activist Tran Thu Nguyet also revealed that the court had assigned them another lawyer, named Dung. This man came to meet them and gave each woman 500.000 VND (approximately), as well as told them to follow his instruction. However, this assigned lawyer did not help Dung and Suong as he promised.

September 2019:

On September 23, 2019, the People’s Supreme Court of Ho Chi Minh City upheld the sentences of Vu Thi Dung and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Suong in an appeal trial.  They had three lawyers at the appeal trial: Trinh Vinh Phuc, Nguyen Van Mieng, and Dang Dinh Manh.

On May 17, 2019, the EU Delegation to Vietnam called on Vietnam’s authorities to release Vu Thi Dung and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Suong immediately and unconditionally.

Profile last updated: 2023-04-19 04:26:10

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