Luu Van Vinh
Current Status: Sentenced to prison
Other Names: Lưu Văn Vịnh
Date of Birth: 1967
Occupation: Construction contractor
Last Known Prison: Gia Trung prison, Gia Lai province
Areas of Activism:
- Land rights
Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:
- Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer
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.
Luu Van Vinh‘s wife said her husband called her with an update. He said that due to the impact of COVID-19, families are not allowed to visit, so in the prison camp, many people are in need of everything. He told his wife he was still in isolation. A few days ago, he had a sore throat with a high fever and numbness all over his body, but he improved.
Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.
Vinh is a handyman from Hai Duong province, living in Ho Chi Minh City at the time of his arrest.
Vinh and his friend, Nguyen Van Duc Do, were both arrested for their roles in protesting Chinese activity in the South China Sea and the toxic Formosa spill that began in April 2016. Vinh founded a group called the Coalition for Self-Determination for Vietnamese People.
The 88 Project's archives
Defend the Defenders's archives
U.N. Human Rights Body Wants Vietnam to Free Dissidents, Radio Free Asia, November 22, 2016
Viet Nam: Crackdown on Human Rights Amidst Formosa Related Activism, Amnesty International, November 8, 2016
Viet Nam: Activists Held Incommunicado at Risk of Torture, Amnesty Internatonal, November 22, 2016
Vietnam jails five people accused of attempting to overthrow state, Channel News Asia, October 5, 2018
Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Ask US Vice President to Pressure Hanoi for Their Release, Radio Free Asia, August 17, 2021
Arrested November 6, 2016. Sentenced to 15 years in prison under Art. 331 (2015 Code), Art. 79 (1999 Code). Expected Release is November 6, 2031.
- Art. 331 (2015 Code)
- Art. 79 (1999 Code)
- Dang Dinh Manh
- Nguyen Van Mieng
Vinh was arrested on November 6, 2016, after police came into his home, beat him, and took him away without presenting official documents. Nguyen Van Duc Do was also arrested after meeting with Vinh.
The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City returned Luu Van Vinh's case to the authorities for further investigation, refusing to prosecute him at that time.
Luu Van Vinh (L) and co-defendants at trial on October 5, Source: AFP
Luu Van Vinh was sentenced to 15 years in prison on October 5, almost two years after his initial arrest.
His wife, Le Thi Thap, was not allowed to attend the public trial. Only after the help of two lawyers and a secretary, was she able to watch her husband’s trial through a screen outside the room. However, the film and the sound failed sometimes, which made it difficult to follow the trial.
When the court started, Luu Vinh raised his hand up and said that he did not agree with this trial and questioned why his relatives weren't present if it was a public trial. However, the judge interrupted and did not allow him to speak further.
During the court, the representatives of Procuracy kept emphasizing the accusations towards Vinh that he “took advantage of the development of the information, accessed the social media to read anti-government articles then posted on Facebook those information, which was harmful to the national security." They also asked others defendants many pointed questions, which were to blame Vinh for tempting them to commit the crimes alleged in thier indictments. However, none of the defendants agreed with the accusation. Only the prosecutor and judge could speak. Vinh and others were interrupted even when they were supposed to answer the questions of the representatives of the Procuracy. The judge ignored the defense from the lawyers and sentenced Vinh and the others heavily.
Luu Van Vinh was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His co-defendants were also sentenced to prison terms: Nguyen Quoc Hoan, 13 years; Nguyen Van Duc Do, 11 years; Tu Cong Nghia, 10 years; and Phan Van Trung, 8 years.
At 9:00 am on January 21, the appeal trial against Luu Van Vinh (sentenced to 15 years) and his co-defendants Nguyen Quoc Hoan (13 years), Nguyen Van Duc Do (11 years), Tu Cong Nghia (10 years), and Phan Van Trung (also known as Thich Nhat Hue, 8 years) began. But since one defense counsel, who was appointed by the authorities for Phan Trung, did not show up, the trial was postponed. No new date was announced.
On February 20, 2019, Luu Van Vinh’s family went with Nguyen Quoc Hoan’s family to meet with the two political prisoners at Chi Hoa Detention Center. Despite allowing the four other families of the defendants in Vinh's case to meet with the prisoners, police prevented Vinh's wife, Le Thi Thap, and his daughter from meeting Vinh. They explained that they could not arrange Vinh's family's meeting because normally it is at the end of the month. However, their last meeting with Vinh was on January 16, more than a month prior, and by law, prisoners are allotted one visit with family per month.
After their usual meeting was delayed in that incident (by one week), Le Thi Thap was finally able to meet her husband at Chi Hoa Detention Center on February 27. Vinh’s blood pressure had been high, causing recent dizziness. Vinh told her that his one-month detention order expired on February 12, 2019, which was issued after his original appeal trial on January 12 was postponed. The next morning, the court sent him and his four co-defendants an Indefinite Detention Order, and no new appeal date had yet been set. No matter how long the appeal trial is delayed, Vinh and his colleagues affirmed they would not cancel their appeal petition.
On March 18, five activists faced their appeal trial at the Higher People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City. They are Luu Van Vinh (sentenced to 15 years) and his co-defendants Nguyen Quoc Hoan (13 years), Nguyen Van Duc Do (11 years), Tu Cong Nghia (10 years), and Phan Van Trung (also known as Thich Nhat Hue, 8 years). All five prisoners' sentences were upheld on appeal. The five maintained their innocence and protested the Court's decision. Only Vinh's wife was allowed inside the courtroom. The trial was originally set for January 21, 2019, but since one defense counsel, who was appointed by the authorities for Phan Trung, did not show up, the trial was postponed.
Instead of informing Vinh’s and the others' families about their trials, a secretary from the court called their defense counsels, Nguyen Van Mieng and Dang Dinh Manh, on March 5, 2019. This was the third time that Le Thi Thap, Vinh’s wife, got the news on her husband’s trial from the lawyers.
On May 31, 2019, Luu Van Vinh called home for five minutes, during which he told his wife that he was transferred to Gia Trung prison in Gia Lai province. This is the fourth prison he has been sent to in the past 30 months. Vinh's wife took a 24-hour round trip to visit him in Gia Trung prison on June 3, but she was not allowed to see him. Vinh was refusing to wear the prison's uniform, so he has not been allowed to receive visitors.
On May 21, 2019, Luu Van Vinh and his family met for only the third time since Vinh was detained in Bo La Center. Vinh was in good health and spirits. In this meeting, Vinh’s wife, Le Thi Thap, brought their daughter, who did not understand Vinh's sentence, but believed that Vinh was there pursuing a Ph.D.
On July 20, 2019, Le Thi Thap, Vinh's wife, went to Gia Trung prison, Gia Lai province, to visit him. She brought their daughter as well. However, when they arrived, the prison guards didn’t allow Vinh to meet them. When she asked them why, they didn’t give her a straight answer. This was the third time prison officials prohibited Vinh from meeting with his family.
On February 18, 2020, Luu Van Vinh's wife visited him in Gia Trung prison camp, Gia Lai, and was notified that Vinh was moved to another block, allegedly because he opposed the way they treated his daily diet and made it inedible. The new prison block is for prisoners convicted of economic crimes, and they seem to have alienated Vinh.
After a November 2017 visit, his wife reported that Vinh's health was worsening; he looked slim and had poor skin and weakened vision because glasses were prohibited.
Amnesty International released an Urgent Action regarding Vinh's "risk of torture and other ill treatment" while detained.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) opined that the detention of pro-democracy activist Luu Van Vinh by authorities of Ho Chi Minh City is arbitrary and demanded his release.
“Thirteen people have been placed behind bars in the past five weeks for ‘crimes’ such as blogging, using Facebook and other peaceful pursuits," Amnesty International said in response to the October 5 trial. Human Rights Watch called for the release of the five co-defendants as well.
Human Rights Watch called for the release of Vinh and his co-defendants, as well as activsit Le Minh The (who was facing his first-instance hearing during the same week), saying that "[i]nternational donors and trade partners should tell Vietnam that continuing this crackdown will cause problems for the aid and trade deals that Hanoi wants to conclude with North America and the European Union.”
Vietnam: 6 Activists Headed to Prison, Human Rights Watch, March 14, 2019
Five Vietnamese Activists Shout Down Judge After Subversion Appeals Rejected, Radio Free Asia, March 18, 2019
Profile last updated: 2021-08-25 00:45:43