Phan Tat Thanh

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Phan Tat Thanh

Other Names: Phan Tất Thành

Date of Birth:

Gender: M

Last Known Prison: HCM city Police detention center, No. 4 Phan Dang Luu, Ho Chi Minh city

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Denial of Legal Representation

May 2024

Phan Tat Thanh, a former administrator for the Facebook page “Nhật Ký Yêu Nước” [Patriotic Diary], was sentenced by an Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) court to eight years in prison on charges of spreading “anti-state propaganda” under Article 117. In an unusual development, the court allowed Thanh’s parents to attend the trial, and compelled his older brother Phan Tat Cong and a younger brother to also be there because they “have legal and financial liabilities” for Thanh. However, requests by the German and U.S. embassies to attend the trial were denied.

Phan Tat Chi, Thanh’s father, told Project88 that his son’s lawyers – Tran Minh Dung and Nguyen Minh Canh – argued in court that their client did not write any of the articles he was accused of writing. They said further that he was only responsible for setting up the page, and that the articles were posted by others. In fact, even after Thanh was arrested in July of last year, articles continued to be posted to the page, which has been renamed “Van Toan”. Nonetheless, prosecutors alleged that Thanh had posted seven articles with “serious anti-government content.” It’s not known if these posts were actually exhibited at trial as evidence.

An exasperated Phan Tat Chi said that although the Procuracy suggested a maximum sentence of between five and seven years, the court instead gave his son an eight-year sentence. In his closing statement, Thanh resolutely maintained his innocence. According to Phan Tat Chi, Thanh was in the middle of telling the court that his confessions were forcibly coerced when he was cut off by the chief judge, who said: “This is not a forum for the defendant to spew nonsense [nói lung tung].”

Arrested July 13, 2023. Sentenced to 8 years in prison under Art. 117 (2015 Code). Expected Release is July 13, 2031.

July 13, 2023
  • Art. 117 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh City (map)
May 8, 2024
  • Nguyen Minh Canh
  • Tran Dinh Dung
8 years in prison
July 13, 2031
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • fair trial

A former administrator for the Facebook page Nhat Ky Yeu Nuoc (Patriotic Diary), Thanh is charged with disseminating “anti-state propaganda.”

Jan. 2024:

Phan Tat Thanh has been denied legal representation, according to Tran Dinh Dung, the lawyer retained by his family to defend him. Phan Tat Chi, Thanh’s father, said police told him that his son said he “did not want to have a lawyer,” which Chi said was not true. Dung asked to see Thanh’s written refusal, but said that he had not received any response from officials at Detention Center 4 in Ho Chi Minh City, where Thanh was being held. Chi said he went there to see his son on Nov. 10 and was told that Thanh’s temporary detention had been extended until Feb. 7. 

March 2024:

On Feb. 16, Phan Tat Chi got a surprise when he went to the detention center on Phan Dang Luu St. in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to bring his son, Phan Tat Thanh, some supplies. Without being notified ahead of time, Chi was told that he would be allowed to speak with Thanh for 30 minutes. However, they had to shout to each other across a glass separator under the supervision of prison guards and security cameras. Thanh appeared to have lost a lot of weight; Chi estimated that he had gone from 70 kg down to 50 kg. Despite being closely watched, Thanh managed to tell his father that he was beaten several times when he was arrested, and a few more times earlier at the detention center. But since then, he had not been beaten again. Chi was able to confirm that Thanh did refuse to have a lawyer because he didn’t trust Tran Dinh Dung, who had been retained by his father without his knowledge. Thanh then agreed to have Dung represent him. 

April 2024:

Phan Tat Thanh, detained since July 2023, still has not been allowed to see a lawyer. His father, Phan Tat Chi, told Project88 that he has retained attorney Tran Dinh Dung to represent Thanh. Dung says he has completed all the necessary paperwork, but the police have refused to let him see his client even though they had finished the investigation and forwarded the case to the Procuracy office. Thanh’s temporary detention has also been extended for another three months without explanation. He told his family during their visit on Feb. 16 that he was beaten by multiple police officers at the investigation center in Ben Thanh District, at the Chi Hoa Detention Center, and at Detention Center No. 4 on Phan Dang Luu Blvd.

Profile last updated: 2024-05-14 17:56:52

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