Vietnam Pro-democracy Activist Detained, Interrogated by Police Two Months after Being Kidnapped and Beaten by Plainclothes Agents
By Vu Quoc Ngu - Defend the Defenders
September 7, 2016
Police in Vietnamís central coastal province of Quang Binh on September 6 detained Mai Van Tam, a member of the pro-democracy group Brotherhood of Democracy, and interrogated him for nine hours before releasing in late afternoon.
Tam said in the morning of Tuesday, he came to Ba Don town police for identification card issuance, instead of being serviced, the local police detained him for questioning about his activities which aim to promote multi-party democracy and human rights as well as protect environment in the Southeast Asian nation.
Two months ago, Tam and seven other members of Brotherhood of Democracy from Quang Binh went to Nghe An province to attend the wedding of a local fellow. Arriving to the province, the group was kidnapped by a group of plainclothes agents who brought the activists to a remote area where they robbed and beat the visitors.
After taking all their wallets, including money and personal documents and cell phones, the attackers left the scene. Tam and Nguyen Trung Truc suffered most, with numerous severe injuries on their bodies. The assaulted activists were rescued by a local priest who provided them with first medical aid.
In early April, Tam represented the unsanctioned Vietnam Independent Civil Society Organizations Network (VICSON) to attend the Asian People Forum conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Upon his return to Vietnam, he was detained and interrogated by Hanoi security agents who beat him and confiscated his passport.
Tam is one of active members of Brotherhood of Democracy which was established by prominent human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who was arrested in late 2015 and charged with conducting anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the countryís Penal Code.
Tam has also actively covered news on the environmental disaster in the central coastal region due to the illegal discharge of very toxic industrial waste by the Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa steel plant located in the central province of Ha Tinh.
Due to his peaceful activities, Tam has been under close surveillance of the local authorities.