Vietnam – Human rights defender Nguyen Van Dai arrested a week after being brutally beaten

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December 22, 2015

On 16 December 2015, Mr Nguyen Van Dai was arrested on anti-state charges in Hanoi.

The arrest took place only one week after the human rights defender was brutally beaten by unknown men in masks after leading a training forum for human rights defenders in Hanoi.

Nguyen Van Dai is the co-founder of the Vietnam Human Rights Committee and a pro-democracy activist. He has provided legal assistance to government critics and members of religious minorities and has faced judicial harassment in the past.

On 16 December 2015, Nguyen Van Dai was arrested by the police for “conducting propaganda against the state of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, which falls under article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. The house of the human rights defender was searched and several belongings were confiscated, including: two laptops, one desktop computer, several USB sticks, a camera, two camcorders, books on human rights, four envelopes containing money that Nguyen Van Dai uses to support relatives of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, and his savings account’s bank book. The human rights defender will be temporarily jailed for four months at the B14 Prison in Hanoi. His case is currently under investigation and if convicted he could face up to twenty years in prison.

This is not the first time Nguyen Van Dai has been detained by Vietnamese authorities. He was arrested in 2007 on charges of propaganda against the state and spent four years in prison, and then spent a further four years under house arrest. Despite an official release from house arrest in March 2015, the human rights defender has been kept under police surveillance.

The situation for human rights defenders in Vietnam has become increasingly tense in recent months, as the Vietnamese government has tightened control ahead of the ruling communist party’s National Congress in January 2016. There is a persistent pattern, in recent months, of physical assaults against human rights defenders and bloggers which are perpetrated either by police officers or unidentified people against government critics and social activists.

Former prisoners of conscience Do Thi Minh Hanh, Truong Minh Duc, Tran Minh Nhat, Chu Manh Son and Tran Duc Thach, human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai, Tran Thu Nam and Le Van Luan, bloggers Truong Van Dung, Tran Thi Nga, Truong Minh Huong and Nguyen Tuong Thuy are among the victims of the intensified persecution by Vietnam’s security forces, which strive to prevent the formation of any opposition parties or movements.

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned about the arrest of Nguyen Van Dai and strongly condemns the recent attacks on human rights defenders, which it believes to be directly linked to their peaceful work in Vietnam.

Source: Front Line Defenders

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