Dao Quang Thuc

Current Status: Deceased

Photo of Dao Quang Thuc

Other Names: Đào Quang Thực

Date of Birth: February 28, 1960

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Teaching professional

Last Known Prison: Prison No. 6, Nghe An province

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Democracy
  • Environment
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Torture
  • Former Political Prisoner
  • Denial of Adequate Medical Treatment or Supplies
  • Harsh Physical and Administrative Conditions
  • Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer

December 2019:

Retired teacher and pro-democracy activist Dao Quang Thuc passed away in prison this week, just two years into a 13-year prison sentence for "subversion." His official cause of death was a brain hemorrhage and lung infection. The family wishes to receive his body for a proper burial in their hometown, but the authorities have denied the request. He was known as an outspoken but peaceful and cheerful dissenter. He participated in a hunger strike with other prisoners earlier this year to protest the removal of fans during a serious heat wave. Thuc’s death reminds the public of the fate of many other political prisoners including Truong Van Suong, Nguyen Van Trai, Huynh Anh Tri, Bui Dang Thuy, Dinh Dang Dinh, and most recently, Doan Dinh Nam, who also suffered mysterious deaths in the regime’s prisons. 

Details -

Arrested October 5, 2017. Sentenced to 13 years in prison under Art. 79 (1999 Code). Expected Release is October 5, 2031.

October 5, 2017
  • Art. 79 (1999 Code)
September 19, 2018
Le Van Luan
13 years in prison
October 5, 2031
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • not be subjected to torture and degrading treatment
  • fair trial
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Dao Quang Thuc, a retired teacher, was arrested under Article 79 on October 5, 2017, in Hoa Binh province, under charges of subversion. He was arrested for online postings and peaceful participation in protests over the environment and territorial disputes with China. In late January 2018, authorities told his daughter that his pre-trial detention would be extended by four months, but no official, written notice was provided. 

April 2018:

Authorities mistreated and even tortured retired teacher and activist Dao Quang Thuc while in pre-trial detention, his family alleged.

September 2018:

Dao Quang Thuc at his trial on September 19. Source: Vu Thi Ha/ Vietnam News Agency via AP

Former teacher Dao Quang Thuc was tried on September 19 in Hoa Binh province and sentenced to 14 years in prison under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code for subversion. Thuc's lawyer, Le Van Luan, said that the prosecution did not make an adequate case against Thuc, stating,  “They showed only that he had tried to make connections [online] with others with similar views." Thuc's daughter remarked that he looked frail at trial, and that he had been severely beaten after his October 2017 arrest. 

January 2019:

On January 17, The High People’s Court of Hoa Binh Province held an appeal trial against Dao Quang Thuc. In the first instance trial, he was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment and five years of probation for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration." At the end of the appeal trial, the Judge reduced his sentence from 14 years to 13 years in prison.

June 2019:

As of June 30, 2019, the political prisoners in Prison No. 6, Thanh Chuong, Nghe An, including Truong Minh Duc, Dao Quang Thuc, Nguyen Van Tuc, were on their 19th day of a collective hunger strike. They were striking to protest the abusive conditions in the prison camp: despite the extreme heat, the prison refuses to provide fans. Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thanh, Truong Minh Duc’s wife, asked everyone to speak up against the cruel treatment by the authorities in Prison No. 6. Mr. Duc also asked all embassies and human rights organizations, overseas and inside Vietnam, to speak up to improve the conditions in all the prisons in order to save these prisoners of conscience’s lives. Read our full report on their situation here.

July 2019:

July 14 marked the 34th day since prisoners of conscience at Camp 6 in Nghe An province went on hunger strike in objection to the Prison Camp authorities’ removal of all the electric fans despite the severe heat wave. This incident has angered many people inside and outside of Vietnam. An urgent appeal petition has received over 1200 signatures from civil society groups and supporters. The updated list of signatories and related public actions for prisoners on hunger strike is available on the Facebook group Tuyet Thuc Vi Tu Nhan Luong Tam (“Hunger Strike for Prisoners of Conscience”), run by the drafters of the Urgent Appeal. 

On July 9, 2019, Nguyen Kim Thanh, wife of political prisoner Truong Minh Duc, flew from Binh Duong Province to Hanoi to meet representatives of the embassies of the US, Australia, and the EU. Thanh just underwent uterine fibroids surgery on June 28, 2019 and her health remains unstable. Her husband and three other political prisoners including Dao Quang Thuc, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Tran Phi Dung were on hunger strike since June 10, 2019. On July 11, UCA News reported that “the diplomats are said to have accepted that the situation is a matter of urgency and also expressed a willingness to raise with the Vietnamese government wider issues relating to prison conditions.”


Systematic efforts seem to have been going on to isolate political prisoners who were on hunger strike in Prison Camp 6, Nghe An province, from the outside world. On July 12, 2019, a group of 20 family members and supporters was physically attacked by thugs who they believe to be plain-clothing prison officers and public security officers. Activist Trinh Ba Phuong, son of former political prisoner Can Thi Theu, told VOA Vietnamese that the group was on its way to Camp 6 with some posters solely to visit and support prisoners such as Truong Minh Duc. When the visitors group tried to approach Camp 6 by car, a truck seemed to purposely park to block the road, so they decided to walk the rest of the way. This is where the attack took place. Activists were physically assaulted and their belongings, including money, phones, and personal documents, were taken by the attackers. Read the detailed report on Defend the Defenders here. Some footage of the attacked can be seen on Trinh Ba Phuong’s Facebook.

July 2019:

The political prisoners in Prison No.6, Nghe An province stopped their hunger strikes after having been allowed to call home. Their families confirmed the information after visiting the prison on July 29. Dao Quang Thuc, Nguyen Van TucTruong Minh Duc, and Tran Phi Dung had been protesting prison conditions, stemming from the prison authorities' refusal to provide fans during a recent heat wave. Prisoners in other prisons also had joined them in solidarity. They ended the strike on July 21, after being on strike since June 10; the prison finally provided them with fans. However, they are prepared to resume striking if they are denied their legal right to call home in future months.

June 2019:

Vietnamese civil organizations issued an “Urgent appeal against Torture and Maltreatment of Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam,” urging the Vietnamese government to “immediately order an end to the torture and maltreatment of prisoners in every prison across Vietnam, especially Prison Camp No. 5 and 6 and to “conduct visits to the above-mentioned prison camps for inspection and scrutiny, and punish those who violate the UNCAT.” As of July 2, 2019, twelve civil society organizations and more than 550 individuals had signed the urgent appeal.

Profile last updated: 2020-08-07 18:59:33

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