22 February 2018
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  • » 02/05/2018, 15.09


    Government against dissent: four more activists convicted

    Bich Lien

    Vũ Quang Thuận, Nguyễn Văn Điển, Trần Hoàng Phúc and Hồ Văn Hải have been convicted for "propaganda against the state". More than a hundred people are currently held as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience for exercising their fundamental rights. Catholics too have paid a price for their actions.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Four bloggers and human rights activists have been recently sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison and 15 under house arrest.

    On 31st January, the People's Court in Hanoi convicted Vũ Quang Thuận, Nguyễn Văn Điển and Trần Hoàng Phúc, a student, (pictured) for "propaganda against the state".

    The following day, a court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted Hồ Văn Hải for the same crime. He had already been in custody for more than a year.

    Vũ Quang Thuận, 51, and Nguyễn Văn Điển worked together on behalf of Vietnamese migrant workers in Malaysia. They also organised environmental protests.  

    Both were arrested on 2 March 2017 for posting online 17 videos criticising the government. Vũ Quang Thuận was given an eight-year sentence plus five years under house arrest, whilst Nguyễn Văn Điển got six and a half years in prison and four more at home.

    Trần Hoàng Phúc, a 23-year-old student at the Law University in Ho Chi Minh City, is a member of the Youth Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).

    In recent years, he took part in many social activities, assisting flood victims in central Vietnam and contributing to human rights initiatives organised by the Redemptorist Fathers in Ho Chi Minh City.

    He was also active in the protests following the environmental disaster caused by Formosa Plastics Corp, a Taiwanese company, in April 2016, in the central coast of Vietnam.

    On 29 June 2017, police arrested Trần in Hanoi for storing and posting documents online that amount to propaganda against “the Socialist Republic of Vietnam", a crime that landed him six years in prison and two under house arrest.

    At his trial, he told the court: “You can put me in prison for 10, 20 years, but can this regime survive for all that time?  I am going to fight until there is democracy in Vietnam.”

    "Propaganda against the state" also cost former physician Hồ Văn Hải, 52, four years in prison and two years under house arrest.

    He had set up a scholarship programme to study in Western countries (Quĩ Khuyến Học Tây Du, Journey to the West). On his blog and Facebook account he had posted many documents and articles promoting education and environmental protection, as well as criticising the communist government for its misdeeds.

    Government newspaper Người Lao Động (Labourer) reports that the court also accused Hồ Văn Hải of "calling on people to take part in demonstrations” against Formosa Plastics, and to join a “civil disobedience movement” in violation of Communist Party policy and plans.

    In recent months, Vietnamese authorities have been engaged in a campaign against dissent. More than a hundred people are currently held as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience for exercising their fundamental rights.

    Dissidents face harassment, intimidation, surveillance and police interrogation on an almost daily basis, and are subjected to long periods of provisional detention without access to lawyers or family members.

    Many Catholics have also paid a price for their action. Catholic activists have often received harsh sentences, as in the recent cases of Nguyễn Văn Oai (five years), Trần Thị Nga (nine), Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh (ten) and Nguyễn Văn Hóa (seven).

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    See also

    06/02/2018 17:24:00 VIETNAM
    Blogger Hoàng Đức Binh sentenced to 14 years in prison

    His is one of the toughest sentences inflicted by a Vietnamese court on an activist. He had organised protests following an environmental disaster caused by Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group. More than a hundred people are currently held as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience in the country.

    16/08/2017 12:15:00 VIETNAM - TAIWAN
    Vietnamese Church brings Formosa victims' protests to Taiwan

    "Going abroad to be heard." Bishop Paul Nguyên Thai Hopof the diocese of Vinh, visitsTaipei with the Victim Support Committee. Protests fueled by compensation criteria set by Vietnamese government and Formosa. The province of Nghệ An is excluded from the list of the four provinces affected under remuneration scheme.

    03/11/2017 16:57:00 VIETNAM
    Activist who protested sea pollution prosecuted for “abusing democratic freedoms”

    Hoang Duc Binh, 34, had organised protests against Formosa Plastics, which caused a huge ecological disaster that left hundreds of fishermen out of work. The activist is also a member of an independent labour organisation.

    25/04/2017 17:52:00 VIETNAM
    Vietnamese protesters demand apology over police mistreatment

    Agents seized No-Formosa T-shirts. Police mistreatment sparks anger among locals. For parish priest Dan Huu Nam, "They have to apologise for their behavior and must return the shirts". One year after the disaster, compensation is slow.

    16/05/2017 15:47:00 VIETNAM
    Authorities crack down on activists fighting for Formosa victims

    Hoàng Đức Bình will be detained for 90 days. He was with Fr Nguyễn Đình Thục, one of the two priests denounced by the government. Hundreds of people gathered to demand Bình’s release. The Catholic Church supports local grievances and is the victim of government reprisals. Catholic activist Thái Văn Dung is wanted by the authorities.

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