Sham trial awaits humans rights activists, including Australian citizen, in Vietnam


November 5, 2019

Viet Tan condemns the trial to be held on November 11 by Vietnamese authorities against Australian citizen Chau Van Kham, and Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen from Vietnam. The Vietnamese authorities have again demonstrated their arbitrary application of the legal system to crackdown on peaceful expression. 

The three activists were arrested in January and initially accused of “activities attempting to overthrow the state,” charges which were later reduced to the more vague “terrorist activities against the state.” The Vietnamese authorities have failed to provide any evidence that the activists engaged in any “terrorist” activities. 

A twenty-one page indictment presents distorted information and accusations unrelated to Viet Tan. Chau Van Kham, Nguyen Van Vien, and Tran Van Quyen were charged for being a member of, or collaborating with Viet Tan. This arbitrary conclusion violates international human rights conventions to which Vietnam is a signatory.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) previously released an opinion upholding the rights of Vietnamese to freedom of association:

“Ms. Minh Man’s affiliation with Viet Tan falls within the right to freedom of association protected by Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Chau Van Kham is a dedicated human rights advocate and an active member of the Vietnamese community in Sydney, Australia. He was arrested on January 13 while on a fact-finding trip in Vietnam.

A member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, Nguyen Van Vien was arrested alongside Chau Van Kham. Tran Van Quyen, a social activist who participated in the Formosa protests was arrested on January 23, in Binh Duong province.

Do Hoang Diem, chairman of Viet Tan, stated, “Viet Tan will continue to support human rights defenders on the ground.. Chau Van Kham entered Vietnam to gain first-hand insight into the human rights situation in the country. Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen are peaceful activists. We challenge the Vietnamese government to provide any form of evidence linking them to ‘terrorism’. We are prepared to bring the Vietnamese government to an international forum to present the truth.”

Chau Van Kham’s son, Dennis Chau said: “My family appreciates the help of the Australian government and from friends around the world. We deeply admire his work and look forward to his swift return.”

Contact: Dr. Phong Nguyen +61 487 193 896