Nghe An, Catholic activists still victims of regime’s "judicial persecution"

Nguyen Van Oai, Thai Van Dung and Trân Minh Nhât are among the 14 young people arrested in 2011. Condemned to prison in 2013, they are accused of failing to comply with their domicile obligations. 

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews / EdA) - Public security continues to closely follow the members of the group of young Catholic activists in the Vinh diocese who were arrested by the regime in 2011.

In 2013, Nghệ An tribunal condemned the 14 Christians to jail for a supposed attempt to "subvert state power". Some of them have already been released, but the newly discovered freedom has lasted little.

In 2011, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's government launched a campaign to stop bloggers and individuals spreading news and criticisms of party and government members accepting kickbacks. Since then, many bloggers and Internet users have become prey to the security forces for their pro-democracy and human rights advocacy activities in Vietnam. Dung had ordered the police to "prevent the formation of any political opposition group".

Three of the activists are targeted by police in particular. They are Nguyen Van Oai, Thai Van Dung and Trân Minh Nhât. According to the same article in the Criminal Code (No. 304), the former has already been judged and sentenced, while the other two are still being investigated by the authorities. They are accused of failing to comply with the strict regime of domicile, to which the 2013 ruling is subject.

The first one to be prosecuted for this offense is Nguyen Van Oai (photo). On 18 September, the Hoàng Mai People's Court in Nghệ An Province sentenced the Catholic blogger and former political prisoner to five years in jail and four house arrest for "resistance to official public" and "violation of probation freedom ". On 19 January, plain clothes police officers attacked and detained the activist, then accused him of having resisted and violated the terms of his residence requirement in 2015 after taking away the previous condemnation of pro-democracy activity.

After the arrest of Nguyen Van Oai in January 2017, police attention focused on the other two recently released activists. On May 5, the regional public security newspaper announced the opening of an investigation against Thai Van Dung. He was arrested in August 2011 in Hanoi, where he resides. The 2013 trial sentenced him to four years in jail and four under house arrest. He was released in 2015.

Last August 4, former prisoner Catholic Trân Minh Nhât was subjected to a similar procedure. For facts dating to 2011, he was sentenced to three years in prison and four in house arrest.