Nguyen Nang Tinh
Current Status: Sentenced to prison
Other Names: Nguyễn Năng Tĩnh
Date of Birth: 1976
Religion: Christian (Catholic)
Occupation: Teaching professional
The wives of four political prisoners in Vietnam wrote an open letter to Vice President Kamala Harris asking her to pressure Vietnamese leaders to release their husbands when she meets with the officials during her trip to Vietnam. The men are: Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Nang Tinh, Luu Van Vinh, and Tran Duc Thach. The letter was initially circulated only on Facebook, but by August 17 it was co-signed by 60 Viet-American pro-democracy, religious, media and community organizations.
Nguyen Nang Tinh’s wife, Maria Nguyen Thi Tinh, was able to visit him in prison on March 13 and updated The 88 Project on his condition. She had been unable to visit him for the last few months due to the pandemic. She said his health is poor; his teeth hurt because of tooth decay and he has backaches due to kidney stones. Tinh is only taking medication that is sent from home. His wife asked if he was able to exercise. He said he can’t exercise for long due to the pain in his hips and joints. Tinh is also fighting for his right to practice his faith. He requested a meeting with a Catholic priest, but the prison authorities haven’t responded to his requests. Tinh said he will wait until after Easter, and if the authorities still don’t respond, he will go on a hunger strike.
Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.
Tinh is a music teacher at the Nghe An College of Art and Culture, living in Nghe An province.
Profile photo source: Nghe Anh Times
Nguyen Nang Tinh is an activist and member of “NoU FC Vinh,” “Bao ve su song (Save Life),” “Quy Phat Trien Con Nguoi (Human Development Fund),” and “Truyen Thong Cong Giao (Catholic Media),” which the authorities consider to be “opposition groups.” As a music teacher, he sang many songs with content allegedly “distorting the policy and guidance of state and party.”
Arrested May 29, 2019. Sentenced to 11 years in prison under Art. 117 (2015 Code). Expected Release is May 29, 2030.
- Art. 117 (2015 Code)
- Trinh Vinh Phuc
- Nguyen Van Mieng
- freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
- liberty and security of the person
- freedom of expression
- fair trial
Authorities arrested Nguyen Nang Tinh, 43, on May 29, 2019, when having breakfast with his sons. Security forces searched his residence, confiscated documents, and then brought Tinh and his sons to the commune people’s committee. A few hours later, they called Tinh’s father to come bring Tinh’s sons back home. He was alleged to post “anti-state” content online.
After three months of detention, the investigation police of Nghe An province completed the investigation period of Nguyen Nang Tinh on September 17, 2019. He was charged under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code (“making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam”). His case was sent to the People's Procuracy for prosecution.
On October 11, 2019, the People’s Court of Nghe An province prohibited Nguyen Nang Tinh's attorneys from copying his case files, even though six days later Tinh was to be tried for “making, storing and distributing documents that are anti-state and the government of Vietnam." In his Facebook post, lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng, one of the two defense lawyers, wrote that the court didn’t allow him to copy Tinh’s files because they were related to national security and, therefore, confidential. On the same day, the two lawyers submitted a request to postpone the trial until the files can be copied. However, according to the lawyers and Tinh’s family, the People’s Court of Nghe An warned that the next trial will be conducted with or without the lawyers.
On November 15, music teacher Nguyen Nang Tinh was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his Facebook posts with alleged “anti-state” content, continuing a troubling crackdown on social media users. A video of him teaching students the famous song “Give back to the people” attracted a lot of attention and the support of Vietnamese people both inside and outside of Vietnam. While Tinh never calls for violence, the authorities said that his case is “exceptional” and “dangerous." Many of his friends were forced to leave when they tried to attend the trial. Father Nguyen Cong Huong, the local priest in the church that Tinh used to attend, also wanted to witness the trial, but his request was denied. In a Facebook post, Trinh Vinh Phuc, Tinh’s defense lawyer, reported that Tinh was very calm and determined at trial, stating: “10 years, 20 years… No matter how harsh the sentence will be, I will never change my opinions."
Nguyen Nang Tinh appealed his 11-year prison sentence. The Supreme People’s Court sent verification of the appeal proceedings to his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh.
On April 20, The People’s Court of Nghe An Province denied Nguyen Nang Tinh‘s appeal of his 11-year sentence. While Tinh did admit to making Facebook posts, his lawyer argued that they were within his internationally-recognized right to freedom of expression. It is reported that Tinh was on a hunger strike from March 13-April 17 and was set to resume his strike (Defend the Defenders reports he was on a hunger strike from March 3-April 17). At his first instance trial, he said: “10 years, 20 years… No matter how harsh the sentence will be, I will never change my opinions.”
He reportedly has kidney stones.
Human Rights Watch released a statement calling for Nguyen Nang Tinh’s release from prison.
Twenty Israeli educators wrote a letter calling for the release of music teacher Nguyen Nang Tinh. “We, the undersigned educators in music and musicology studies throughout the State of Israel, ask you to use the close ties between the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the communist regime in Vietnam and request the immediate release of our colleague, political detainee Nguyen Nang Tinh. Music and freedom are inextricably linked, as illustrated by Leonard Bernstein on December 25, 1989, when he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as part of the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
A group of Vietnamese in Tokyo protested in front of the residence of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ahead of his visit to Vietnam on October 18-20. They carried pictures of political prisoners such as Trinh Ba Phuong, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Pham Doan Trang, Le Dinh Luong, and Nguyen Nang Tinh. The group also went on a 24-hour hunger strike to call attention to the government’s continued crackdown on peaceful dissent and violations of freedom of speech.
In a special virtual ceremony, the US-based Vietnam Human Rights Network (VHRN) awarded its 2020 prizes to the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam, Nguyen Nang Tinh, and imprisoned journalist Nguyen Van Hoa. According to VHRN, the annual awards are given to “individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to and have demonstrated influence on the promotion of justice and human rights movements in Vietnam.” Family representatives and colleagues of the three recipients were present to accept the awards on behalf of the recipients.
You can sign a petition to support Tinh’s release here.
Nhà đấu tranh Nguyễn Năng Tĩnh bị bắt ở Nghệ An, VOA Tieng Viet, May 29, 2019
Khởi tố, bắt tạm giam Nguyễn Năng Tĩnh, Công an Nghệ An, May 30, 2019
Catholic activist arrested, accused of 'undermining' Vietnamese government, National Catholic Reporter, May 30, 2019
Kết thúc điều tra hình sự đối với nhà hoạt động Nguyễn Năng Tĩnh, Radio Free Asia Vietnamese, September 17, 2019
Vietnam: Activist Facing Prison Term for Facebook Posts, Human Rights Watch, November 14, 2019
Vietnam Jails Music Teacher for 11 Years For Criticizing Government Online, Radio Free Asia, November 15, 2019
Vietnam Court Upholds 11-Year Sentence For Music Teacher Who Posted Online Criticism, Radio Free Asia, April 20, 2020
Vietnam Blogger Crackdown Continues with Harsh Supreme Court Ruling, More Arrests, Voice of America, April 22, 2020
Joint Letter of 20 Israeli Educators Demanding Release of Vietnamese Educator Nguyen Nang Tinh, Defend the Defenders, October 4, 2020
Vietnam Human Rights Award 2020 Winners Announced, Vietnam Human Rights Network, November 21, 2020
Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Ask US Vice President to Pressure Hanoi for Their Release, Radio Free Asia, August 17, 2021
Profile last updated: 2021-08-25 00:44:03