Profile

Phan Bui Bao Thy

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Phan Bui Bao Thy

Other Names: Phan Bùi Bảo Thy

Date of Birth: 1971

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Freedom of expression

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Prolonged Incommunicado Detention
  • Online commentator

On October 29 Phan Bui Bao Thy, a former journalist for the state-run online magazine Giáo Dục và Thời Đại (Education and the Times), was put on trial with two co-defendants — Nguyen Huy and Le Anh Dung. They are accused of setting up several Facebook pages for the purpose of smearing the reputation of the police chief of Quang Tri Province by posting 79 articles exposing his supposed wrongdoings. The three men were initially charged with “abusing democratic freedoms” under Article 331, but after two days of hearing, the court  asked the prosecutors to revise the charges and add “libel” to the case. The trial therefore was suspended.

We are currently awaiting further updates on the trial. 

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Thy has worked for a long time as a state-sanctioned journalist for several state-owned newspapers. He was the head of the representative office of a newspaper called Education & Times in Da Nang before being arrested.

Profile photo source: Nguoi Lao Dong

From early 2020 to November 2020, Dung and Thy wrote and posted on their Facebook accounts criticisms against high-ranking governors of Quang-Tri Province, including Tran Duc Viet (head of Quang-Tri Province Police Department), Nguyen Van Hung (party secretary and chairman of Quang Tri People’s Committee at the time, currently Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism); Vo Van Hung (chairman of Quang Tri People’s Committee); Le Duc Tien (vice-chairman of Quang Tri People’s committee); and Do Van Binh (director of Quang Tri’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Department).

Le Anh Dung met Huy in November 2020 and recruited him to provide them with insider information about several governors in Quang Tri Province.

From the on, Huy supported Dung and Thy to continue posting about those mentioned above.

Arrested February 5, 2021. Charged under Art. 331 (2015 Code).

February 5, 2021
  • Art. 331 (2015 Code)
Quang Tri public security, Quang Tri province
Quang Tri (map)
unknown
The People’s Court of Quang Tri Province
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression

The Quang Tri police report and their press release accused Phan Bui Bao Thy and Le Anh Dung of running many Facebook accounts, namely “Ly Tu Duong”, “Thu Ha”, “Hoang Le”, “Quang Tri 357”, and “Quang Tri 246”, that were involved in a so-called “discreditation campaign” against the Party leadership of Quang Tri Province. The report did not discuss the evidence that would support Thy’s accusation. 

Thy was arrested after being invited to work with Quang Tri public security on this matter. Five days after his detention, the authorities officially announced his arrest under Article 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code for "abusing democratic freedoms." His pre-trial detention will last two months and is subject to further extension. His house and workplace in Da Nang were also searched. The authorities alleged that Thy and his accomplice, Le Anh Dung,  prepared 10,000 pages of documents to “defame” the leadership.

Nguyen Huy was also arrested and accused of being an accomplice to Thy and Dung.

***

On October 31, 2021,after two days of trial, the Chief of Secretariat for the province, Nguyễn Khánh Vũ, returned the case to the Procuracy and declared that the defendants’ actions “did not affect the credibility or leadership ability of Quang Tri Province executive committee.”

The reasons given were that the process of investigation and the evidence gathered did not meet the law’s requirements; the charge that defendants violated Article 331 does not reflect the true severity of the harm done; the act of “slander” was omitted.

Profile last updated: 2021-12-30 15:21:55

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