Nguyen Van Tuc

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Nguyen Van Tuc

Other Names: Nguyễn Văn Túc

Date of Birth: May 28, 1964

Gender: M

Religion: Buddhist

Ethnicity: Kinh

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

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Human rights
  • Land rights
  • Sovereignty

Known Affiliations:

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
  • Infliction of Physical and Psychological Pain

July 2020:

Nguyen Van Tuc’s wife tried to visit him recently but was unable to due to the prison’s restrictive policies. “On July 12, I went to Camp 6, Nghe An, with my two children to visit Tuc. The weather was very hot, we left at 1 pm and arrived at 7 am the next day. The police said they could only allow one person in, so I let my son go in and I stayed outside with my other child. My son said Tuc is very thin, only 50kg. Tuc could not sleep. My son said the [visitor’s] phone stopped working after 5 minutes. The phone was broken during our last visit.” They had traveled a long way but only one person was allowed to go in, and the phone broke after only five minutes. She asked for supporters to speak up for improved prison conditions.

Details - History of Activism.

He has been active in human rights, pro-democracy, and maritime sovereignty activism.

Nguyen Van Tuc's profile from Front Line Defenders

Arrested September, 2008. Sentenced to 4 years in prison under Art. 88 (1999 Code). Released September 10, 2012.

September, 2008
  • Art. 88 (1999 Code)
October, 2009
4 years in prison
September, 2012
September 10, 2012

Arrested September 1, 2017. Sentenced to 13 years in prison under Art. 79 (1999 Code). Expected Release is September 1, 2030.

September 1, 2017
  • Art. 79 (1999 Code)
April 10, 2018
Ngo Anh Tuan
13 years in prison
September 1, 2030
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Nguyen Van Tuc, a former prisoner of conscience and a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, was arrested under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code on September 1, 2017State-owned media has confirmed the arrest. He had previously served four years in prison under Article 88 for “propaganda against the state,” from 2008 to 2012. At the time of the arrest, he was at least the sixth member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group co-founded by lawyer and political prisoner Nguyen Van Dai, to be arrested in recent weeks.

March 2018:

Authorities announced that Nguyen Van Tuc would face trial on April 10. A Brotherhood for Democracy member and former political prisoner, he had been detained for seven months without trial. He was be tried under Article 79 in Thai Binh province and had not been allowed to meet with his lawyer at the time of the announcement.   

April 2018:

Nguyen Van Tuc was sentenced to 13 years in prison and three years of house arrest on April 10, 2018, in Thai Binh province.

September 2018:

Nguyen Van Tuc‘s appeal of his 13-year sentence was denied on September 14. Tuc’s wife said that he saw the trial as an opportunity to voice his continued support for peaceful activism, and she noted that his health situation has been more stable recently. 

November 2018:

Nguyen Van Tuc’s wife, Bui Thi Re, went to visit him at Prison 6, in Nghe An province, on November 12. His multiple diseases were getting worse, however, he remained in good spirits and he gave thanks to those who are concerned about him and his family. Tuc had been recently transferred to the new prison, which is 300 km from their family’s residence, without formal notice given to his wife. 

June 2019:

As of June 30, 2019, the political prisoners in Prison No. 6, Thanh Chuong, Nghe An, including Truong Minh DucDao 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 refused 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 underwent uterine fibroids surgery on June 28, 2019 and her health remained 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 Tuc, Truong 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 2018:

Nguyen Van Tuc was in poor health in prison, with graying hair and difficulties eating and sleeping from his heart disease. His wife reported back on his condition after a June 21 visit, stating also that Tuc lacked sufficient air ventilation in his cell.

September 2018:

Bui Thi Re, wife of Nguyen Van Tuc, and their son, visited Tuc in Thai Binh detention center on September 20, 2018. They reported that Nguyen Van Tuc’s health was in bad condition after the appellate trial on September 14. In particular, his cardiovascular disease was getting worse, with such a high heartbeat and blood pressure that he felt he could faint at any time. In addition, other diseases, such as a degenerative spine (or the vertebrae of the neck) and hemorrhoids, caused him even more pain. However, his spirit of courage remained. He even encouraged his son and fellow activists to turn pain into action. 

November 2018:

Bui Thi Re, Nguyen Van Tuc’s wife, went to Thai Binh Detention Center to bring him some medication on November 8. However, the detention officer announced that Tuc had been transferred to Detention Center 6, Nghe An Province, which is 300 km from their family’s residence. When Bui Thi Re visited him on October 18, she had reported that he was in poor health. His cardiovascular disease made him faint three times in one day, each time for 15 minutes, and he was still suffering from hemorrhoids. Moreover, he cannot see clearly because of his corneal inflammation. Transferring him to a far-away prison will challenge his family's ability to visit and provide him with medication. Tuc had requested to check his health, but as of October 2018, he had not received a reply from prison authorities.

March 2019:

On March 13, 2019, Nguyen Van Tuc’s wife, Bui Thi Re visited him and received a letter writing about his health situation. He had been suffering from many serious diseases, including hemorrhoids, a degenerative spine issue, chronic keratitis of the eye, and coronary artery disease. In addition, he also had lost weight because of his insomnia. He was in a dangerous situation because of both health problems and inhumane treatment in prison.

Tuc was enduring mistreatment at the notorious Prison No. 6 in Nghe An province. He has been placed in a cell with a cellmate who allegedly beatTuc in exchange for leniency from authorities. Prison authorities were also allegedly withholding food sent by Tuc’s family.

August 2019:

On August 28, 2019, Bui Thi Re, wife of Nguyen Van Tuc, and Tuc’s brothers, went to visit Tuc in Prison 6, Nghe An province. They were only permitted to meet with him for 45 minutes. According to Re, Tuc was very weak, and he hasn't been able to sleep at night because of his cardiovascular disease. Tuc told his wife that he passed out the previous day for a few hours. His high blood pressure, vision issues, and hemorrhoids are also problematic. Tuc worries he will die in prison. He asked the prison manager to transfer him out of the cell because of problems with his cellmate harassing him. 

October 2019:

On October 20, 2019, Bui Thi Re, Nguyen Van Tuc's wife, went to visit Tuc in Prison 6, Nghe An province. According to Re, Tuc was very weak, and he still has to take medicine because of his cardiovascular disease. His high blood pressure and hemorrhoids are also problematic. 

February 2020:

In a letter sent to his family, political prisoner Nguyen Van Tuc said that his health seems to have worsened since he has not received any proper medical treatment from the prison. Currently held in Prison Camp 6, Nghe An province, Tuc wrote that his hemorrhoids have continued to worsen, his high blood pressure is now being treated with two antibiotic pills everyday, and his degenerative spine disease has not improved. Yet, he thanked the community and other activists that have helped him while he is in prison and looks forward to meeting with his family after the visit restriction is lifted once the coronavirus outbreak ends. 

September 2017:

Several UN Rapporteurs released a letter expressing concern about the arrests and detentions of Nguyen Bac Truyen, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Le Dinh Luong. They highlighted the issue that these arrests took place during a concerted crackdown on human rights activists and point out that Vietnam has international obligations to protect universal freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. 

April 2018:

Following the trial of human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and five other activists, in which they received sentences ranging from 7-15 years in prison, and the trial of Nguyen Van Tuc mere days later, a group of UN experts released a statement questioning the Vietnamese government's motives for jailing the activists, asking for clarifications regarding their detentions and trial, and urging the government to uphold international obligations to protect human rights and release political prisoners. “We are deeply concerned at the way these peaceful campaigners have been treated and in particular over the use of Article 79 of the 1999 penal code of Viet Nam to charge and convict dissenting voices, mainly human rights defenders, especially as Article 79 carries the possibility of the death sentence or life imprisonment," they said.

Take action for Nguyen Trung Truc, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Tran Thi Xuan with The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture. Use their guide and contact information to write to the Vietnamese government to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the prisoners, the improved treatment of human rights defenders, and Vietnam’s compliance with international human rights agreements.

September 2018:

Human Rights Watch called for Tuc's release ahead of his appeal trial. 

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 15:39:25

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