09/02/2017, 09.48
VIETNAM
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Hanoi, pro-democracy dissidents condemned and transferred to isolation

Le Thanh Tung and Tran Anh Kim were sentenced to 13 years and 12 years respectively for subversion. They had founded an online association of supporters of democracy. A long past commitment to human rights.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / Rfa) - Two major dissidents have been secretly transferred from a prison in the province of Ha Nam, northern Vietnam, to a prison in the province of Thanh Hoa, far away from their homes, in an attempt to make visits and communications with relatives difficult.  The news was reported by a dissident website based in Hanoi.

In December 2016, Le Thanh Tung and Tran Anh Kim were sentenced to 13 years and 12 years respectively in prison for "activities aimed at overthrowing people's administration." In May, the Vietnam Court of Appeals confirmed the judgments.

In a post on August 30, the Hanoi-based rights group Defend the Defenders said the government has kept the news of relocation hidden from relatives and that it only came to light after they tried to visit the two in prison.

Kim, a former army colonel who served in the Vietnam War, has become one of the most tenacious dissidents. He had already served five and a half years in jail on similar charges and was released last year. Kim is known for his activities in favor of democracy and respect for human rights, he has organized numerous petitions against the injustices and corruption of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Tung, a former soldier and freelance journalist, was released last year after a previous five-year sentence for "propaganda against the state" and for his association with Bloc 8406. This is a coalition of activist movements that promote democratic reforms in the country.

After their release, the two were again arrested and accused of setting up an organization to overthrow the government. At their trial, Kim and Tung stated that the group was just an online association of supporters of democracy, most of whom had never met.

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