VIET NAM: PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE SUBJECT TO ILL-TREATMENT: TRẦN HUỲNH DUY THỨC
By Amnesty International, 26 August 2016, Index number: ASA 41/4704/2016
Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, serving a 16-year sentence has been transferred to a remote prison in northern Viet Nam. This is more than a full day’s drive from his family home. He is being subjected to ill-treatment treatment for his refusal to carry out prison labour, which violates the international prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
In May 2016 Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức was unexpectedly transferred from Xuyên Mộc prison camp in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu province to Prison No 6 in Nghệ An province in northern Viet Nam, known for its harsh treatment of prisoners. Nghệ An province is 24 hours by road from his family home in Ho Chi Minh City and has high summer temperatures of around 40 degrees. This makes conditions in a small concrete cell without electricity extremely uncomfortable. Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức informed his family that since 8 August the authorities have turned off the electricity in his cell as a punishment for his refusal to carry out prison labour, consisting of making fake money for burning during funerals, as is customary in Viet Nam. On his transfer to Prison No 6, Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức undertook a two-week hunger strike in protest at the lack of rule of law in Viet Nam.
Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức’s family told Amnesty International that he was handcuffed during his prison transfer in May. His family was not informed, but learnt through the relative of another inmate, that he had been moved. In the previous months the prison authorities had refused to transmit letters between Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức and his family, in violation of his right to communicate with his family, and had threatened him with reprisals for his demands for human rights for prisoners. He had also been under pressure to agree to be relocated to the USA as a condition of his release; he has consistently rejected this offer.
Disciplinary measures which impact on general living conditions are prohibited by the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). In no circumstances should disciplinary measures constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Please write immediately in Vietnamese, English or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to release Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức immediately and unconditionally as he is a prisoner of conscience held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion;
- Urging that while detained Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức is treated in accordance with the UN Nelson Mandela Rules for the treatment of prisoners, and is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment;
- Urging that while he is detained he is moved to a detention facility closer to his family, allowing full access to them, through visits and correspondence, and to a lawyer and medical treatment as necessary.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 7 OCTOBER 2016 TO:
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc Prime Minister’s Office Hà Nội, Việt Nam Online contact form:
Minister of Public Security To Lam
44 Yết Kiêu St. Hoàn Kiếm District Hà Nội, Việt Nam
Online contact: http://www.mps.gov.vn/web/guest/contac t_english
And copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister
Phạm B́nh Minh
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Street, Ba Dinh district Ha Noi, Việt Nam
Fax: + 844 3823 1872
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.