Dozens Vietnamese Land Petitioners Detained while Peacefully Protesting to Demand Unconditional Release of Their Leader


By Vu Quoc Ngu, June 13, 2016

The security forces in Vietnamís capital city of Hanoi on June 13 detained around 20 land petitioners who held peaceful demonstrations in the front of a government building to demand for unconditional and immediate release of their leader Can Thi Theu.

The detention was made near the government building in Ha Dong district when dozens of land petitioners gathered there to protest the arrest of former prisoner of conscience Theu, who was detained on June 10 and charged with allegation of causing public disorders under Article 245 of the countryís Penal Code.

Among the detainees were Trinh Ba Phuong and Trinh Ba Tu, two sons of Mrs. Theu, Doan Truong Vinh Phuoc and her ten-year child Doan Truong Anh Thu from southern Vietnam.

The police held the detainees from early morning of Monday until late afternoon of the same day.

The detained protestors said the police officers violently took them on a bus but did not beat them while in policeís custody. Police confiscated their cell phones and cameras, erasing all pictures and videos they made during the protest before returning to the owners.

Other land petitioners and other activists continued to protest outside of the police station to request for release of Mrs. Theu and the recently-detained land petitioner until late afternoon.

Three days ago, the police in Hanoi arrested Theu, who was arrested on April 25, 2014 while filming the seizure of the land of her family and other farmers in Duong Noi commune, Ha Dong district, Hanoi. Later, she was charged of resisting on-duty state officials and sentenced to 15 months. Her husband Trinh Ba Tu was also arrested on the same case and imprisoned for 15 months.

This time, police alleged her of causing public disorder when on April 8, she led a group of around 100 land petitioners to hold a peaceful demonstration to mark the 10th anniversary of the pro-democracy group Bloc 8406 and demand unconditional and immediate release of human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who was arrested on December 16 on charge of conducting anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the Penal Code.

On that day, Theu and seven other activists were violently detained by the Hanoi police who released them later on the same day.

For the recent arrest of Mrs. Theu, you can read in:

Land seizure is thorny issue in Vietnam where all land belongs to the state and the local residents have only right to use it. According to the current Land Law, the state can take land from residents for infrastructure development for socio-economic purposes.

Thousands of Vietnamese peoples have been lost their land as the local authorities have taken for industrial and property development without paying adequate compensation, leaving farmers without production tool. Authorities in these localities have got land and paid cheaply and later sold to industrial and property developers at prices thousands higher than the compensation prices.

Thousands of land petitioners have gathered in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to protest land grabbing by local authorities. They live in misery and are subjects of torture by police forces.


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