Phan Bui Bao Thy

Current Status: Sentenced to probation

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

April 2022:

After five days of deliberation, a court in Quang Tri Province sentenced journalist Phan Bui Bao Thy and businessman Le Anh Dung to one year each of “non-custodial re-education” for allegedly defaming government officials. 

March 2022:

On March 30, a court in Quang Tri Province put three men on trial for the second time for “abusing democratic freedoms.” Their first trial in October 2021 was adjourned prematurely so that the prosecution could gather more evidence to press more charges. 

The defendants are: Phan Bui Bao Thy, 50, former journalist with the publication Education Of The Times; ex-police officer Nguyen Huy, 44, who worked for Quang Tri Public Security; and Le Anh Dung, 56, a businessman in Ho Chi Minh City. The plaintiffs include: Nguyen Van Hung, former chairman of the Quang Tri People’s Committee and current Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism; Vo Van Hung, chairman of the Quang Tri People’s Committee; Tran Duc Viet, former Chief of Public Security in Quang Tri; and several others. According to Tuoi Tre Online, none of the plaintiffs appeared at the trial, but it was still allowed to proceed.

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. Sentenced to 1 year probation under Art. 331 (2015 Code).

February 5, 2021
  • Art. 331 (2015 Code)
Quang Tri public security, Quang Tri province
Quang Tri (map)
March 30, 2022
The People’s Court of Quang Tri Province
1 year probation
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • fair trial

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.


October 2021:

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 were 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. 

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.

The trial was suspended.

Profile last updated: 2022-04-19 00:23:59

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