Vietnam Free Expression Newsletter No. 13/2019 – Week of March 25-31
Featured Image: Political prisoner Nguyen Van Hoa
Greetings from The 88 Project! We are bringing you news, analysis, and actions regarding human rights and civil society in Vietnam during the week of March 25-31. Political prisoner Nguyen Van Hoa officially ended his hunger strike after 12 days. Authorities are threatening to isolate Phan Kim Khanh in prison, and Le Anh Hung is being denied visits from his family because he refuses to wear a prison uniform. Christian missionary Ksor Ruk was sentenced to prison in the Central Highlands this month. Cao Dai priest Hua Phi was harassed and interrogated by authorities; he needed medical attention after he suffered from blood pressure problems during questioning. A former political prisoner’s family was harassed while on a family visit. Female environmental activist Cao Vinh Thinh was detained for questioning about her affiliation with the Green Trees group. And former political prisoner and activist Nguyen Quang Hong Nhan and his wife have been extradited back to Vietnam from Germany. In international advocacy, the UN Human Rights Committee has released a report on Vietnam after its recent review, condemning the crackdown on freedom of expression as well as Vietnam’s use of the death penalty. In news and analysis, read about the persecution of Hmong Christians in Vietnam and an analysis piece on the defamation of independent Vietnamese media organizations by mainstream media. Take action for US citizen Michael Nguyen who has been detained in Vietnam for nine months without trial.
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HUMAN RIGHTS & CIVIL SOCIETY
This month, a court in Gia Lai province sentenced Ksor Ruk, an ethnic minority Christian missionary, to prison on charges of “undermining the state’s unity policy,” under Article 116 of the 2015 Criminal Code. There are 51 other ethnic minority political prisoners currently held in prison in the country.
Former political prisoners Huynh Anh Tu and Pham Thanh Nghien’s family visited Nghien’s hometown in Hai Phong province. Because Tu does not have any legal documents to be able to travel alone, Nguyen Ngoc Tuong Thi, a former political prisoner, accompanied him on the train trip on March 25, 2019. In the early morning of March 26, Thi was suddenly detained at the police station of Dong Hai 1 ward, Hai An district. When Nghien’s older sister went to the police station to check on Thi, police also asked her to bring Huynh Thanh Tu there to declare his temporary residence at her house. Before releasing Thi at 9.40 am, police also said that Nghien’s and Tu’s families were under surveillance.
Nguyen Quang Hong Nhan, a Vietnamese human rights and democracy activist who previously served twenty years in prison, has been sent back to Vietnam. After his release from prison, he continued his activism and found the group Vietnamese Former Prisoners of Conscience. Nhan had applied for asylum with the Canadian Embassy in Vienna, Austria. Recently, his family’s application was denied. And on March 26, 2019, German police suddenly detained Nhan, as well as his wife, and extradited them to Vietnam.
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Vietnam: State-Owned People’s Army Newspaper Defamed Independent Media, Civil Society Organizations: “The article falsely accused Luat Khoa magazine and its editor-in-chief, Trinh Huu Long, to have received support from Viet Tan, an overseas Vietnamese political party that has been classified as a ‘terrorist organization’ by the regime. Among other things, it unfoundedly alleged that independent newspapers, media, and civil society organizations such as Luat Khoa, Cong Hoa TV, Vietnam Path Movement, and so forth, were promoting ‘fake democracy,’ and that the real intention of these organizations was to misrepresent information about the Vietnamese Communist Party and the government by portraying them in a negative light. According to the author, some forms of citizen journalism and blogging by individuals who exposed wrongdoings and injustice in society could be criminal conduct. Examples of bloggers recently imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression, such as Phan Kim Khanh and Nguyen Van Hoa, were named in the article to support the writer’s position.”
Take action for US citizen Michael Nguyen, who was detained in Vietnam almost nine months ago. He may soon be facing trial. He is not permitted visits from lawyers or family. Little information has been available about his case, even to US officials. Call on Vietnamese authorities to release him from detention by signing this petition on Change.org.
© 2019 The 88 Project