Profile

Pham Chi Dung

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Pham Chi Dung

Other Names: Phạm Chí Dũng

Date of Birth: 1966

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Democracy
  • Freedom of expression
  • Press

Known Afilliations:

  • Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam

Journalist Pham Chi Dung is being denied contact with a lawyer, almost two months since he was arrested. Under the terms of his pre-trial detention, he will not be allowed to meet with a lawyer until authorities have finished their initial investigation. Though this is a provision of Vietnamese law, it violates international rights to legal representation, and former political prisoners have often recounted after their release their troubles communicating with their lawyers even after the initial investigation period ended.

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Pham Chi Dung, a prominent dissident journalist and writer, was arrested on November 21, 2019 by the public security forces of Ho Chi Minh City. He is charged under Article 117 of Vietnam 2015 Criminal Code for “producing, storing, and disseminating” documents opposing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. While state media asserts that he has participated in “very dangerous and serious conduct that negatively affects national social stability, public order of Ho Chi Minh City,” they can only point out one fact to support that accusation: that he established and organized a “civil society organization.” 

Mr. Dung is a high-profiled figure among both HCMC Communist Party and pro-democracy activists. 

The website of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam, which is also a news website called the Vietnam Times (Viet Nam Thoi Bao), has become inaccessible after Dung’s arrest. 

Details - Background, History of Activism, Contact Information.

Pham Chi Dung graduated from the Military Technical Academy and obtained a PhD Degree in Economics. His father, Pham Van Hung, is a former Head of the Party Committee’s Organization Commission of Ho Chi Minh City.

Profile photo source: Facebook Pham Chi Dung

Dung has been writing with several pen names including Việt Thắng, Viết Lê Quân, and Thường Sơn, since 1986 and was an active member of Writer Association of Ho Chi Minh City. 

Pham Chi Dung himself has been a frequent commentator on Vietnamese politics in Vietnamese-language independent media such as VOA Vietnamese, as well as major international news outlets, such as Foreign PolicyNBC News, and Nikkei Asian Review. Reporters Without Borders profiles him as an “information hero.” For his outspoken commentaries on and critics of the regime, he has been subject to arbitrary detention and a travel ban in recent years. 

While serving as a military officer in the Internal Security Commission of Ho Chi Minh City, Dung was arrested and prosecuted for “conspiring to overthrow the government” and “anti-government propaganda” in July 2012. His arrest was probably due to his sensitive articles on corruption and government mismanagement. Finally, public security discharged him and released him after six months of detention. 

In December 2013, Dung resigned from the Communist Party after being a member for 20 years. He became the chairman of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam, a group of independent reporters founded in 2014 to advocate for freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and democracy. 

On February 1, 2014, Dung was banned from traveling to Geneva at Noibai International Airport in Hanoi. He was on the way to attend and speak at the UN Human Rights Review of Vietnam, in accordance with an invitation from Human Rights Watch. The public security confiscated his passport and ordered him to return his residence in Ho Chi Minh City for further interrogation. 

On June 25, 2015, Dung was forcibly arrested by a group of twenty public officials in Ho Chi Minh City and interrogated for eight hours. While questioning Dung on the case of Nguyen Quang Lap, the public security also requested him to close Viet Nam Thoi Bao Newspaper, a newspaper run by the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam.

Đình chỉ vụ nhà báo Phạm Chí Dũng, British Broadcasting Corporation Vietnamese, March 13, 2013

Nhà báo Phạm Chí Dũng xin ra khỏi đảng, Radio Free Asia, December 5, 2013

Phạm Chí Dũng bị cấm đi Genève, Radio Free Asia, February 1, 2014

Vietnam: Journalist Barred From Travel to UN Rights Review, PEN International, February 2, 2014

Công an yêu cầu TS Phạm Chí Dũng chấm dứt hoạt động Hội Nhà báo Độc lập, Radio France internationale Vietnamese, June 25, 2015

5 năm vượt thác của những người làm báo tự do, Viet Nam Thoi Bao, July 10, 2019

Arrested November 21, 2019. Charged under Art. 117 (2015 Code).

November 21, 2019
  • Art. 117 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
His private residence in Ho Chi Minh City (map)
unknown
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of association
  • UN Special Rapporteurs
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • International government officials

Pham Chi Dung was arrested on November 21, 2019 by the public security forces of Ho Chi Minh City. He is charged under Article 117 of Vietnam 2015 Criminal Code for “producing, storing and disseminating” documents opposing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. While state media asserts that he has participated in “very dangerous and serious conduct that negatively affects national social stability, public order of Ho Chi Minh City,” they can only point out that he established and organized a “civil society organization.”

November 2019:

The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement on behalf of Pham Chi Dung, calling for Dung's immediate release from prison. 

Member of the European Parliament Jude Kirton-Darling sent a letter to Vietnam's Ambassador to the EU, Vu Anh Quang, about Dung's arrest. "His arrest sends a very alarming signal while the European Parliament is currently scrutinising the agreements with Vietnam," she wrote. Read the full letter, here

March 2020:

The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention released a report calling for information in the cases of Pham Chi Dung and activist Dinh Thi Phuong Thao. Thao was detained for questioning and her passport confiscated when she returned to Vietnam in November 2019; Dung was arrested in November 2019 and still awaits trial. In the statement, the Rapporteurs call for answers from the Vietnamese government about these incidents, the treatment of the people involved, and the legal assurances that they should have been granted. The government now has 60 days to respond. 

Profile last updated: 2020-03-30 13:04:30

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