Profile

Le Huu Minh Tuan

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Le Huu Minh Tuan

Other Names: Lê Hữu Minh Tuấn

Date of Birth: March 20, 1989

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Last Known Prison: Bo La prison camp, Binh Duong province

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Freedom of expression
  • Human rights
  • Press

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Denial of Legal Representation
  • Denial of Adequate Medical Treatment or Supplies
  • Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer

January 2024:

Le Huu Minh Tuan is seriously ill and needs immediate medical attention. According to his family, Tuan could barely walk out to see them on their visit on Dec. 26. Tuan said he could not eat solid food and had been surviving on milk and liquid congee. In July 2021, Tuan was transferred to Xuyen Moc Prison. Toward the end of 2022, he began having digestive issues. A prison physician diagnosed it as an infection of the large intestine and liver. The family tried to send him medication prescribed by doctors, but prison officials said he could only take medication provided by them. Last November, Tuan was taken to a hospital in Vung Tau for exams. Tuan said doctors there only performed a cursory check then gave him some medication, which only made his conditions worse. Tuan’s family has been desperately appealing to the Xuyen Moc Prison and the Ministry of Public Security to get him proper medical care.

December 2023:

Le Huu Minh Tuan is reported to be too weak to even eat. According to RFA, Tuan told his family that “his health has declined to the point that he can no longer consume food without vomiting.” Tuan, 34, also told them that “he is too weak to bear any more” and “cannot hold on any longer.” His dire health situation has also been confirmed by The Vietnamese. Tuan has been diagnosed by Xuyen Moc Prison medical staff as having ulcerative colitis and hepatitis.

To raise awareness for his case, share this video interview – Le Huu Minh Tuan in his own words.

March 2023:

Le Huu Minh Tuan's is suffering from ulcerative colitis, prolapsed hemorrhoids, hives, diarrhea, and constipation, according to his sister, Le Thi Hoai Na. Tuan is kept in a small cell and is not allowed outside much to exercise. He’s not permitted to receive medicines sent by his family for his illnesses. His mental health is reportedly stable.

 

***

We talked to Le Thi Hoai Tam, Tuan’s sister. Like many other families of political prisoners in Vietnam, they have faced harassment from the law enforcement to visit and send Tuan necessities. Ms. Tam calls on the international community to speak out forcefully for the release of Tuan and members of the Independent Journalist Association. Watch the interview to learn more about Tuan and his personality through the eyes of his sister and the family.

Details

Immediate Concerns

January 2024:

Le Huu Minh Tuan is seriously ill and needs immediate medical attention. According to his family, Tuan could barely walk out to see them on their visit on Dec. 26. Tuan said he could not eat solid food and had been surviving on milk and liquid congee. In July 2021, Tuan was transferred to Xuyen Moc Prison. Toward the end of 2022, he began having digestive issues. A prison physician diagnosed it as an infection of the large intestine and liver. The family tried to send him medication prescribed by doctors, but prison officials said he could only take medication provided by them. Last November, Tuan was taken to a hospital in Vung Tau for exams. Tuan said doctors there only performed a cursory check then gave him some medication, which only made his conditions worse. Tuan’s family has been desperately appealing to the Xuyen Moc Prison and the Ministry of Public Security to get him proper medical care.

December 2023:

Le Huu Minh Tuan is reported to be too weak to even eat. According to RFA, Tuan told his family that “his health has declined to the point that he can no longer consume food without vomiting.” Tuan, 34, also told them that “he is too weak to bear any more” and “cannot hold on any longer.” His dire health situation has also been confirmed by The Vietnamese. Tuan has been diagnosed by Xuyen Moc Prison medical staff as having ulcerative colitis and hepatitis.

To raise awareness for his case, share this video interview – Le Huu Minh Tuan in his own words.

March 2023:

Le Huu Minh Tuan's is suffering from ulcerative colitis, prolapsed hemorrhoids, hives, diarrhea, and constipation, according to his sister, Le Thi Hoai Na. Tuan is kept in a small cell and is not allowed outside much to exercise. He’s not permitted to receive medicines sent by his family for his illnesses. His mental health is reportedly stable.

 

***

We talked to Le Thi Hoai Tam, Tuan’s sister. Like many other families of political prisoners in Vietnam, they have faced harassment from the law enforcement to visit and send Tuan necessities. Ms. Tam calls on the international community to speak out forcefully for the release of Tuan and members of the Independent Journalist Association. Watch the interview to learn more about Tuan and his personality through the eyes of his sister and the family.

Background

Tuan was born in Quang Nam Province and currently lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City. He graduated from the history program at the University of Da Nang, and now is also pursuing a law degree at Hanoi Law University.

Profile photo source

History of Activism

Tuan is a young professional that showed his concern for human rights in Vietnam starting at a very young age. He has participated in the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam since 2015 and joined many collective movements across the country. According to journalist Pham Doan Trang, Tuan has always dreamed of writing the first historical book on the democratization of Vietnam.

Sentenced to 11 years in prison under Art. 117 (2015 Code). Expected Release is June 12, 2031.

  • Art. 117 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
Ho Chi Minh City (map)
January 5, 2021
The People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Dang Dinh Manh
  • Nguyen Van Mieng
11 years in prison
June 12, 2031
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of association
  • fair trial
  • Vietnamese civil society groups
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Human Rights Watch
  • US government
  • International Federation for Human Rights
  • UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • The European Union
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Details of Imprisonment

According to certain news sources in Vietnam, the authorities intend to combine the cases of Pham Chi Dung, Pham Chi Thanh, and Le Huu Minh Tuan into one case with Le Huu Minh Tuan acting as an accomplice. All are members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam.

October 2020:

The government has finished its investigation of Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan. Thuy’s wife said their lawyer will be Nguyen Van Mieng. Some observers expected that the trial would be held soon.

November 2020:

Lawyers for jailed journalists Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan say they have finally received paperwork that allows them to start working on the cases on behalf of their clients, after the Procuracy office finished its investigation. Attorney Nguyen Van Mieng reported that since their arrests, the three men have not yet been allowed to talk to a lawyer. He also said the men were allowed to receive supplies sent by their families on November 6, but he was not able to see them due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Attorney Nguyen Van Mieng, lawyer for Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, said the order for their temporary detention was signed on November 12, 2020, allowing for three months and 15 days of additional detention. It is thus expected that their first instance trials will take place toward the end of January 2021. Dung said that after reading the 12-page indictment against him, “I could not see where I broke the law.” Thuy said, “Of the 45 articles attributed to me, some weren’t even mine.” He said he’d appeal the indictment within 15 days.

January 2021: 

Three members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) were sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison after a trial lasting half a day. Pham Chi Dung, 55, received 15 years; Nguyen Tuong Thuy, 69, received 11 years; and Le Huu Minh Tuan, 32, received 11 years. All three were convicted of “anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code. Thuy is known to be in poor health; the long sentences could cause serious health problems. You can read our analysis of the trial here. Before his sentencing, Thuy made this statement: “All my articles are just yearnings for our people and our country. In the future, activities like mine will be considered perfectly normal.” Dung said, “A harsh sentence for independent journalists like us will show the world what ‘freedom of the press’ looks like in Vietnam. It’ll also create problems in international relations during this difficult period.”

The authorities accused the three of writing “reactionary content,” of publishing articles that “distort the truth, incite individuals to rise up and overthrow the people’s government, or even incite hatred and extremism.” However, a video of Tuan highlights the peaceful nature of his work and aspirations. He contends that he joined the IJAVN, a purely civil and professional entity, to pursue the rights enshrined in Vietnam’s Constitution. He also emphasizes, explicitly, that his objective is never to topple the current regime. Please watch and share this video of Le Huu Minh Tuan speaking in his own words.

Update, late January: Le Huu Minh Tuan has decided to appeal his prison sentence. He appears to be in good health and spirits, according to his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh.

June 2021:

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion on Le Huu Minh Tuan, in which they found Le Huu Minh Tuan’s detention to be arbitrary and called for his immediate release.

The WGAD also noted that this case is one of many cases brought before the Working Group in recent years concerning arbitrary detention in Viet Nam.  These cases follow a familiar pattern of arrest that does not comply with international norms, which is manifested in the circumstances of the arrest, lengthy detention pending trial with no access to judicial review, denial or limiting of access to legal counsel, incommunicado detention, prosecution under vaguely worded criminal offences for the peaceful exercise of human rights, and denial of access to the outside world. This pattern indicates a systemic problem with arbitrary detention in Viet Nam which, if it continues, may amount to a serious violation of international law.

February 2022:

On February 28 an appeals court in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the 11-year sentence for Le Huu Minh Tuan, a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), on charges of “anti-state propaganda.” The open trial lasted only half a day and Tuan’s family was not allowed inside the courtroom. Tuan’s sister, Le Thi Hoai Tam, told VOA that Tuan was not allowed to see his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, before the trial due to “pandemic reasons.” According to his lawyer, Tuan stated in court that he only exercised his basic freedoms of expression and of the press according to Article 25 of the Constitution. 

***

We talked to Le Thi Hoai Tam, Tuan’s sister. Like many other families of political prisoners in Vietnam, they have faced harassment from the law enforcement to visit and send Tuan necessities. Ms. Tam calls on the international community to speak out forcefully for the release of Tuan and members of the Independent Journalist Association. Watch the interview to learn more about Tuan and his personality through the eyes of his sister and the family.

May 2022:

Le Huu Minh Tuan, was in failing health, said his sister Na. The family learned of his conditions after seeing him on May 26 for the first time since his arrest in June 2020. “My brother is in very bad health. I couldn’t recognize him,” Na said. She said during the first two years in detention, Tuan was held in allegedly horrific conditions at a detention center in Binh Thanh District which caused his health to quickly deteriorate. He was later transferred to the Bo La facility in Binh Duong Province, where he is allowed to go outside for 15-30 minutes a day.

Actions Taken

Read the statement from the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam on the arrest of member Le Huu Minh Tuan (available in Vietnamese and English), as well as these statements by international organizations:

January 2021:

Prior to and after the January 5 trial of Nguyen Tuong Thuy, Pham Chi Dung, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, many organizations expressed their support for the activists and pressed for the Vietnamese government to drop the charges against them, including:

The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also released a statement condemning the trial, saying “We are deeply concerned by the use of vaguely-defined laws to arbitrarily detain an increasing number of independent journalists, bloggers, online commentators and human rights defenders – in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”

June 2021: 

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion on Le Huu Minh Tuan, in which they found Le Huu Minh Tuan’s detention to be arbitrary and called for his immediate release.

December 2023:

Reporters Sans Frontiere (RSF) called for Le Huu Minh Tuan's release based on reports by the family that his health is deteriorating to where he was nothing but “skin and bones” when they last visited him.

Resources

Tại sao Công an TP.HCM bắt Lê Hữu Minh Tuấn? Báo Pháp luật Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, June 13, 2020 

Công an TP HCM khởi tố, bắt tạm giam Lê Hữu Minh Tuấn, Đời sống Pháp luật, June 14, 2020  

Pham Doan Trang's Facebook Update

Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan in his own words, January 2020

Heavy Prison Sentences for Three Independent Vietnamese Journalists – A Worrisome Beginning to 2021, January 6, 2021

From Le Huu Minh Tuan’s sister: please speak out forcefully for their release, The 88 Project, December 28, 2021

Vietnam: Appeals Court Upholds Former Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan’s 11-Year Sentencing, The Vietnamese, March 1, 2022

VOA post about Tuan's appeal trial, March 1, 2022

Vietnamese journalist in failing health after 2 years in prison, Radio Free Asia, June 3, 2022

Relatives say imprisoned Vietnamese journalist’s health declining, Radio Free Asia, Dec. 29, 2023

Independent Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan's Health Worsens in Prison, Prompting Demands for His Release, The Vietnamese, Jan. 1, 2024

Interviews with Tuan's family

January 5, 2021: trial

January 5, 2021
Ho Chi Minh City (map)

  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of association
  • fair trial
  • Vietnamese civil society groups
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Human Rights Watch
  • US government
  • International Federation for Human Rights
  • UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • The European Union
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Details of Imprisonment

According to certain news sources in Vietnam, the authorities intend to combine the cases of Pham Chi Dung, Pham Chi Thanh, and Le Huu Minh Tuan into one case with Le Huu Minh Tuan acting as an accomplice. All are members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam.

October 2020:

The government has finished its investigation of Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan. Thuy’s wife said their lawyer will be Nguyen Van Mieng. Some observers expected that the trial would be held soon.

November 2020:

Lawyers for jailed journalists Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan say they have finally received paperwork that allows them to start working on the cases on behalf of their clients, after the Procuracy office finished its investigation. Attorney Nguyen Van Mieng reported that since their arrests, the three men have not yet been allowed to talk to a lawyer. He also said the men were allowed to receive supplies sent by their families on November 6, but he was not able to see them due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Attorney Nguyen Van Mieng, lawyer for Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, said the order for their temporary detention was signed on November 12, 2020, allowing for three months and 15 days of additional detention. It is thus expected that their first instance trials will take place toward the end of January 2021. Dung said that after reading the 12-page indictment against him, “I could not see where I broke the law.” Thuy said, “Of the 45 articles attributed to me, some weren’t even mine.” He said he’d appeal the indictment within 15 days.

January 2021: 

Three members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) were sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison after a trial lasting half a day. Pham Chi Dung, 55, received 15 years; Nguyen Tuong Thuy, 69, received 11 years; and Le Huu Minh Tuan, 32, received 11 years. All three were convicted of “anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code. Thuy is known to be in poor health; the long sentences could cause serious health problems. You can read our analysis of the trial here. Before his sentencing, Thuy made this statement: “All my articles are just yearnings for our people and our country. In the future, activities like mine will be considered perfectly normal.” Dung said, “A harsh sentence for independent journalists like us will show the world what ‘freedom of the press’ looks like in Vietnam. It’ll also create problems in international relations during this difficult period.”

The authorities accused the three of writing “reactionary content,” of publishing articles that “distort the truth, incite individuals to rise up and overthrow the people’s government, or even incite hatred and extremism.” However, a video of Tuan highlights the peaceful nature of his work and aspirations. He contends that he joined the IJAVN, a purely civil and professional entity, to pursue the rights enshrined in Vietnam’s Constitution. He also emphasizes, explicitly, that his objective is never to topple the current regime. Please watch and share this video of Le Huu Minh Tuan speaking in his own words.

Update, late January: Le Huu Minh Tuan has decided to appeal his prison sentence. He appears to be in good health and spirits, according to his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh.

June 2021:

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion on Le Huu Minh Tuan, in which they found Le Huu Minh Tuan’s detention to be arbitrary and called for his immediate release.

The WGAD also noted that this case is one of many cases brought before the Working Group in recent years concerning arbitrary detention in Viet Nam.  These cases follow a familiar pattern of arrest that does not comply with international norms, which is manifested in the circumstances of the arrest, lengthy detention pending trial with no access to judicial review, denial or limiting of access to legal counsel, incommunicado detention, prosecution under vaguely worded criminal offences for the peaceful exercise of human rights, and denial of access to the outside world. This pattern indicates a systemic problem with arbitrary detention in Viet Nam which, if it continues, may amount to a serious violation of international law.

February 2022:

On February 28 an appeals court in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the 11-year sentence for Le Huu Minh Tuan, a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), on charges of “anti-state propaganda.” The open trial lasted only half a day and Tuan’s family was not allowed inside the courtroom. Tuan’s sister, Le Thi Hoai Tam, told VOA that Tuan was not allowed to see his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, before the trial due to “pandemic reasons.” According to his lawyer, Tuan stated in court that he only exercised his basic freedoms of expression and of the press according to Article 25 of the Constitution. 

***

We talked to Le Thi Hoai Tam, Tuan’s sister. Like many other families of political prisoners in Vietnam, they have faced harassment from the law enforcement to visit and send Tuan necessities. Ms. Tam calls on the international community to speak out forcefully for the release of Tuan and members of the Independent Journalist Association. Watch the interview to learn more about Tuan and his personality through the eyes of his sister and the family.

May 2022:

Le Huu Minh Tuan, was in failing health, said his sister Na. The family learned of his conditions after seeing him on May 26 for the first time since his arrest in June 2020. “My brother is in very bad health. I couldn’t recognize him,” Na said. She said during the first two years in detention, Tuan was held in allegedly horrific conditions at a detention center in Binh Thanh District which caused his health to quickly deteriorate. He was later transferred to the Bo La facility in Binh Duong Province, where he is allowed to go outside for 15-30 minutes a day.

Actions Taken

Read the statement from the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam on the arrest of member Le Huu Minh Tuan (available in Vietnamese and English), as well as these statements by international organizations:

January 2021:

Prior to and after the January 5 trial of Nguyen Tuong Thuy, Pham Chi Dung, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, many organizations expressed their support for the activists and pressed for the Vietnamese government to drop the charges against them, including:

The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also released a statement condemning the trial, saying “We are deeply concerned by the use of vaguely-defined laws to arbitrarily detain an increasing number of independent journalists, bloggers, online commentators and human rights defenders – in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”

June 2021: 

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion on Le Huu Minh Tuan, in which they found Le Huu Minh Tuan’s detention to be arbitrary and called for his immediate release.

December 2023:

Reporters Sans Frontiere (RSF) called for Le Huu Minh Tuan's release based on reports by the family that his health is deteriorating to where he was nothing but “skin and bones” when they last visited him.

Resources

Tại sao Công an TP.HCM bắt Lê Hữu Minh Tuấn? Báo Pháp luật Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, June 13, 2020 

Công an TP HCM khởi tố, bắt tạm giam Lê Hữu Minh Tuấn, Đời sống Pháp luật, June 14, 2020  

Pham Doan Trang's Facebook Update

Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan in his own words, January 2020

Heavy Prison Sentences for Three Independent Vietnamese Journalists – A Worrisome Beginning to 2021, January 6, 2021

From Le Huu Minh Tuan’s sister: please speak out forcefully for their release, The 88 Project, December 28, 2021

Vietnam: Appeals Court Upholds Former Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan’s 11-Year Sentencing, The Vietnamese, March 1, 2022

VOA post about Tuan's appeal trial, March 1, 2022

Vietnamese journalist in failing health after 2 years in prison, Radio Free Asia, June 3, 2022

Relatives say imprisoned Vietnamese journalist’s health declining, Radio Free Asia, Dec. 29, 2023

Independent Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan's Health Worsens in Prison, Prompting Demands for His Release, The Vietnamese, Jan. 1, 2024

Interviews with Tuan's family

Profile last updated: 2024-06-13 20:34:06

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