Call for Urgent Help from Le Dinh Luong’s Family

With the upcoming trial of Vietnamese blogger and community organizer Le Dinh Luong on July 30, 2018, his wife Nguyen Thi Quy has written a letter asking for support to call for his immediate and unconditional release.

 

Call for Urgent Help

(With regards to Nghe An authorities kidnapping and bringing Le Dinh Luong to trial on 30 July 2018 according to Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code)

 

Vinh Hoa, 20 July 2018

To:

  • Committee on Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam
  • Committee on Justice and Peace of the Vinh Diocese
  • Bishops, Priests, Monks
  • Parishioners and the Catholic community
  • People supporting justice, peace and the truth
  • Domestic and international media

I am Nguyen Thi Quy, wife of Le Dinh Luong and a parishioner at Vinh Hoa Parish, Ke Dua Congregation, Vinh Diocese in Vinh Hoa Village, Hop Thanh Commune, Yen Thanh District, Nghe An Province.

On 24 July 2017, my husband was riding his motorcycle home after visiting the family of prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Oai in Yen Hoa Parish (Quynh Luu, Nghe An) as a group of 20 people stopped him and physically attacked. They then constrained him into their car and headed in the direction towards Vinh.

After not hearing from husband after a few days and no notifications from authorities, my family and I went to the People’s Committee of Hop Thanh Commune on 31 July 2017 to enquire about Luong. However, the representative of the People’s Committee said they did not have any information about Luong’s arrest. Knowing that the representative of the People’s Committee in Hop Thanh Commune was hiding information regarding Luong’s detention, my family and I visited the Nghe An Provincial Police to ask about Le Dinh Luong on 18 August 2017. Rather than providing a valid reason as to why he was arrested and his whereabouts, they said he had been transferred to another location. It was here that they physically attacked some of my family members which led to serious injuries. They arbitrarily detained and attacked Phan Van Yen, Nguyen Van Thuc, Nguyen Van Quyen, my son Le Dinh Hieu and his wife Nguyen Thi Xoan along with four others.

Two months after my husband was kidnapped, Nghe An provincial police sent us a formal notification with his detention. This shows that Nghe An provincial police violated Article 88 of the 2003 Criminal Procedures Code and Article 116 of the 2015 Criminal Procedures Code. Nghe An authorities accused my husband of “overthrowing the people’s administration” according to Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code, a baseless law used to violate people’s human rights.

Be: my husband, Le Dinh Luong, participated in peaceful protests and signed petitions regarding environmental issues with bauxite mining in Tay Nguyen in 2008 and protested against Chinese encroachment in Vietnamese territory. In 2016, Luong assisted and protested against the lack of compensation received by victims of the Formosa environmental disaster off the central coast of Vietnam. Luong is also a victim of the exorbitant product taxes charged by the People’s Committee in Hop Thanh Commune and was assisting farmers protest against this injustice, calling on People’s Committee to follow the rules and regulations with regards to tax. The result is that the People’s Committee in Hop Thanh Commune admitted their mistakes and violations to their laws. Simultaneously, he has been advocating for deflated education costs in Hop Thanh Commune and other areas within the Vinh Diocese.

I have visited Nghe An provincial police several times since my husband was arrested to enquire about his health but was refused to see him. My husband is a veteran of the Vietnam-China border word in 1983 and is in weak health, with illnesses which need to be addressed. Most recently on 29 June 2018, after more than 11 months of detention, I went to Nghe An Provincial Police to request to visit my husband but was refused.

According to the notice Luong’s defence attorney received, there will only be nine days (on 30 July 2018) before the Nghe An Provincial Court brings my husband to trial. This is obviously a sentence in which authorities have prepared to hand a lengthy prison term (the sentence is already in their pockets) as they have done with many other democracy and human rights activists in Vietnam. However, his defence attorney and I still have not been able to visit him.

Others who have been arbitrarily detained in Nghe Kim Detention Center (Vinh, Nghe An province) have informed me that my husband is determined to be righteous and not “confess” under the pressure of the Nghe An Investigative Police and is therefore harassed, put in solitary confinement in the detention center. This is clearly a case where the representatives of the law prosecute and trial my husband in an unjust society. The Vietnamese government are the true violators of Vietnamese law, seriously violating human rights and various international covenants to which Vietnam is a signatory.

As the wife of an activist advocating for justice and truth, I strongly believe that my husband has not committed any crimes as accused by Nghe An police. As a Catholic over many years, I have witnessed dozens of Catholics be arbitrarily arrested because they dared to speak up against the injustices. I believe authorities often discriminate against religious groups and in particular, Catholics. As an aggrieved farmer, knowing that the road to justice is filled with many obstacles, I am determined to continue this journey. As an older woman, my family and I face many hardships to call on the release of Le Dinh Luong.

Because of this, I look to the Providence of God, pray that anyone supporting justice and peace to speak up for my husband. Please pray for my husband for him to bravely continue being a witness to justice and truth and be released from prison. I ask the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, priests, monks and Catholic parishioners in Vietnam and around the world to support my husband in the face of Vietnamese authorities who are determined to imprison Le Dinh Luong at any price.

God bless and peace be with you!

Nguyen Thi Quy

Source: Facebook of Nguyễn Xoan

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