Catholic activist Nguyen Van Hoa enters eighth day of hunger strike

The political prisoner asks authorities to investigate beatings and torture dating back to 2017 and 2018. He is serving a seven-year sentence for "propaganda against the state". So far, the complaints about the treatment received have not been answered.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / RFA) - Nguyễn Văn Hóa (photo), a 24-year-old Catholic activist and political prisoner, today entered the eighth day of hunger strike to protest the repeated abuses suffered ta the hands of prison guards in An Diêm, central-southern province of Quảng Nam.

The young man is serving a seven-year sentence for "propaganda against the state", issued in November 2017 by the People's Court of the province of Hà Tĩnh.

Two days after visiting him in prison,his  sister Nguyễn Thi Hue declared that until now her brother's complaints about mistreatment had received no response. Hóa calls on the authorities to conduct an investigation into beatings and torture dating back to 2017 and 2018, when he was forced to testify in the trial against 44-year-old Lê Đình Lượng, another Catholic activist sentenced to 20 years in prison.

On 16 August 2018, Nguyễn Văn Hóa was taken by force before the court of Nghệ An as a witness. Along with him there was also Nguyễn Viết Dũng, a former prisoner who has now been transferred to the Ha Nam detention center.

Nguyễn Văn Hóa, Nguyễn Viết Dũng and Lê Đình Lượng were arrested for their protests against the government regarding the management of the environmental disaster caused by the Taiwanese steel plant Formosa Plastics Group. In April 2016, the company was responsible for the release of toxic chemicals in port waters in the province of Hà Tĩnh, bringing the fishing industry and tourism to central Vietnam to its knees.

Nguyễn Văn Hóa sent a copy of the petition to the authorities of the province of Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh and the Supreme People's Procuratorate in the capital Hanoi. The activist asks to prosecute the officers responsible for the abuses; he promises that he will not stop his hunger strike until his demands are met.