Viet Nam: Three human rights defenders held incommunicado

Amnesty International|15/02/2017|Vietnam Today|

February 15, 2017

Within 10 days of each other, three unassociated Vietnamese human rights defenders were arrested in January and are currently being held in incommunicado pre-trial detention. With no access to lawyers, they are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Trần Thị Nga, a member of the independent Vietnamese Women for Human Rights group, was arrested at her home in Phủ Lý, northern Viet Nam on 21 January 2017. According to state controlled media, she was “caught posting video clips and documents containing anti-state propaganda on the internet”. Charged under Article 88 of Viet Nam’s 1999 Penal Code for “conducting propaganda” against the state, Trần Thị Nga could face up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted. She is held at Hà Nam provincial prison.

Nguyễn Văn Oai, a former prisoner of conscience and Catholic social activist, was arrested on his way home from a fishing trip in Hoàng Mai town, central Viet Nam late on 19 January 2017. His family were informed the following day that he was being accused of resisting officials on duty under Article 257 of the Penal Code. Nguyễn Văn Oai is currently serving a three year probation period after he was released in August 2015 following a four year prison sentence. He is held at Nghệ An provincial prison, and faces a possible seven year sentence if convicted. He is in weak health after his previous imprisonment.

Nguyễn Văn Hóa a blogger from Kỳ Anh district, north central Viet Nam, was arrested on 11 January 2017. After 12 days, on 23 January, his family were informed by the Hà Tĩnh police that he was being detained under Article 258 of the 1999 Penal Code for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State and the rights and legitimate interests of organizations and citizens”, a provision commonly used against peaceful activists. If convicted under Article 258 he faces a possible sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment. He is held at Cầu Đông prison, Hà Tĩnh province.

Janice Beanland
Campaigner for Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam
Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional Office (SEAPRO)
Amnesty International, London

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