Saigon-based Activist Kidnapped, Questioned and Beaten


Mr. Nguyen Ho Nhat Thanh (second from left) at a meeting with UN Special Rapporter on freedom of religion and belief Heiner Bielefeldt. Source:

Defend the Defenders, December 28, 2016: Nguyen Ho Nhat Thanh, a young activist from Saigon, was kidnapped, interrogated and beaten two times by plainclothes police on December 26, the victim has told Defend the Defenders.

Thanh, who is organizing a training course on activism for young individuals from the southern region, said on Monday’s afternoon he was informed by the trainees that local authorities came to the training site to demand for administrative check. Shortly after coming to a cafeteria nearly at 3.30 PM, he was suddenly attacked by a group of ten plainclothes agents.

The attackers held his arms to his back and started to beat him on his head, breast and back. One of them took his gun and pointed to Thanh’s right ear and shout “I will shot you if you resist. Fuck you that you are training others.” Later, the guy covered Thanh’s head with a shirt and the attackers took him into a car and drove away.

The kidnappers took Thanh to a police station in Tan My district and other police officers interrogated until mid-night. The interrogators, coming from the city’s Police Department and the Ministry of Public Security, questioned him about the training course and other his activities which aim to promote human rights and multi-party democracy.

They also accused him of receiving money from foreign-based groups in order to build forces for overthrowing the regime.

During the interrogation, two of the kidnappers sometime threatened to beat him, Thanh said.

After answering some questions on his personality, Thanh remained silent, demanding his unconditional release.

The police released Thanh at 11.30 PM. Thanh couldn’t use his cell phone to contact with his friends as police put it into water earlier. When Thanh took a taxi, a group of around 20 thugs on ten motorbikes blocked the car and took him out to beat until he collapsed on street. Policemen and militia nearly did not intervene.

Thanh is the third activists assaulted by Vietnamese plainclothes policemen within a week. On December 22, plainclothes agents in the northern province of Ha Nam beat local human rights activist Truong Minh Huong, and one day later, police kidnapped, assaulted and robbed Nguyen Van Dung in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

Along with arrests and heavy imprisonments, Vietnam’s authorities have deployed plainclothes to conduct physical attacks against local political dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders. Hundreds of activists have been beaten by police officers in police stations or on streets this year, victims included La Viet Dung, Nguyen Cong Huan, Nguyen Trung Truc, Mai Van Tam, Nguyen Van Thanh, Phung The Dung and Nguyen Cong Thu.

Communists have ruled Vietnam for decades and have no plan to share power with others. The Communist Party of Vietnam has ordered the police to take all actions in order to prevent the formation of oppositions.