Vietnam Free Expression Newsletter No. 22/2019 – Week of May 27-June 2
Featured Image: Political prisoner Huynh Thuc Vy
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 May 27-June 2. Read about Doan Dinh Nam’s family’s attempts to have his sentence canceled as he battles kidney disease, as well as the latest update on Nguyen Van Hoa’s condition after being in solitary confinement for ten days, and his fellow prisoners’ hunger strikes. Authorities have set a trial for Facebooker Nguyen Ngoc Anh for June 6. Another activist, Nguyen Nang Tinh, was arrested this week. And after almost 2 1/2 years, the international community has an update on political prisoner Nguyen Danh Dung. Several activists were at risk this week, including a group of former political prisoners who were detained at a border crossing station. Activists have spoken out against tactics used across the country to suppress their freedom of movement. And several members of the US Congress are calling for more pressure on Vietnam to promote freedom of expression. In the news, read about the current state of Vietnam’s draft law on Special Economic Zones, as well as Vietnam-EU relations. In case you missed it, we’ll soon be releasing our full interview with environmental activist Khiem Nhu. And please take action for Hoang Duc Binh and his fellow political prisoners by sharing an appeal from Binh’s mother.
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HUMAN RIGHTS & CIVIL SOCIETY
Authorities arrested Nguyen Nang Tinh, 43, on May 29, 2019, when having breakfast with his sons. Security forces searched his residence, confiscated documents, and then brought Tinh and his sons to the commune people’s committee. A few hours later, they called Tinh’s father to come bring Tinh’s sons back home. Tinh was accused of being member of Viet Tan, a pro-democracy organization based in the US, which Vietnam deems a terrorist organization. Tinh’s wife denied the accusation. Nguyen Nang Tinh is an activist and member of “NoU FC Vinh,” “Bao ve su song (Save Life),” “Quy Phat Trien Con Nguoi (Human Development Fund),” and “Truyen Thong Cong Giao (Catholic Media),” which the authorities consider to be “opposition groups”. Tinh has been a music teacher at the Nghe An College of Art and Culture and sang many songs with content allegedly “distorting the policy and guidance of state and party.” He is said to be charged under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code for “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” After his arrest, the Catholic community rallied around him in support.
This week, we remember the arrest and trial anniversaries, as well as the birthdays, of the following political prisoners:
Nguyen Trung Linh (left) and Nguyen Van Tuc (right)
- Nguyen Trung Linh, arrested May 27, 2018, an engineer and pro-democracy activist held in pre-trial detention
- Nguyen Van Tuc, birthday May 28, a former political prisoner and a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, serving a 13-year prison sentence
- Kpuil Le, a Montagnard Christian sentenced to eight years in prison in June 2012
- Kpuil Mel, a Montagnard Christian sentenced to nine years in prison in June 2012
According to Facebooker Vu Quoc Ngu, a group of seven citizens was detained at Moc Bai border gate when they were on the way back from Cambodia for a trip. Four of them are former prisoners of conscience: Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, Nguyen Thi Truc Anh, Ho Cong Di, and Vo Nhu Huynh. Three others are Huynh’s mother, Huynh’s five-year-old child, and independent journalist Le Thu. On May 26, 2019, Phuong contacted her family to tell them about their detention. Their phones were then confiscated. At 4:00 pm on May 27, 2019, they were all finally released.
On May 27, 2019, Le Thu was arrested by Tuan 67, a public security officer of Dong Nai province, and some undercover collaborators, while she was at a coffee shop far from the Moc Bai border gate. At the border guard station, they accused Thu of entering Vietnam illegally. When Thu questioned them about evidence showing her “illegal” entrance, they called some witnesses, including a motorcycle taxi driver, a bus driver, and an observer, who seemed to be under the command of officers. However, those people could not prove her guilt. Still, the border guard station made a decision to issue an administrative fine against her, in which she was fined four million VND (approximately 170 USD) for “entering Vietnam illegally.” She refused to plead guilty and sign the report, which the officers finally accepted. Instead, they confiscated her phone, laptops and 200 USD. During her detention, Thu went on hunger strike to protest her arbitrary arrest.
Le Anh Hung (left), Truong Duy Nhat (middle), and Tran Thi Nga (right)
NEWS & ANALYSIS
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Khiem Nhu was watched for six months; her complete private life was under a magnifying glass because she spoke up against the Vietnamese regime. Watch the preview of her interview, here! It is part of our video interview series with female activists. The complete interview is coming soon!
Hoang Duc Binh (left), Nguyen Van Hoa (middle), and Nguyen Bac Truyen (right)
Take action for imprisoned environmental activist Hoang Duc Binh, and his fellow political prisoners Nguyen Van Hoa and Nguyen Bac Truyen, who are all in a precarious situation in prison, by sharing this appeal to the international community from Binh’s mother.
© 2019 The 88 Project