August 15, 2017
Vietnamese authorities have set the trial date for blogger and human rights defender Nguyen Van Oai.
Local authorities notified Oai’s defense lawyer, Ha Huy Son, of the trial set for August 21 in Nghe An province (central Vietnam). Nguyen Van Oai was arrested on January 19 by security police and later charged with “resisting persons on duty” and “failing to comply with sentence” under Articles 257 and 304 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
Nguyen Van Oai, 36, is a co-founder of the Association of Catholic Former Prisoners of Conscience and a member of Viet Tan. He was previously arrested in August 2011 and sentenced to four years imprisonment on vague national security charges. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled that the detention was arbitrary and a violation of international law.
Prior to his January arrest, Nguyen Van Oai campaigned for political prisoners and documented social injustices on his Facebook page. Nguyen Van Oai is married and his wife just delivered their first child in early August.
Nguyen Van Oai’s trial comes as the Vietnamese government has launched a widespread crackdown against peaceful dissent. Authorities have detained or persecuted at least 20 activists so far in 2017.