Police in Vung Tau Detain, Assault Many Activists during Workshop on Civil Society
Defend the Defenders
October 09, 2016
On October 8, security forces in Vietnamís southern city of Vung Tau violently detained around two dozens activists at a workshop on civil society, interrogating them for hours before releasing them at midnight of the same day. Among those detained were prominent dissident Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, legal expert Le Cong Dinh, former prisoners of conscience Pham Ba Hai and Nguyen Thuy Quynh.
Police confiscated the detaineesí cell phones and destroyed them. Many activists, including Le Cong Dinh and Nguyen Thuy Quynh, said they were brutally beaten by police officers during interrogation and upon release.
The Higher Peopleís Court in Ho Chi Minh City on October 5 reduced the four-year sentence of well-known blogger Nguyen Dinh Ngoc (aka Nguyen Ngoc Gia) by one year but kept the three-year period of house arrest that follows the imprisonment. The well-known blogger was arrested in December 2014 on allegation of conducting anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the Penal Code. In late March, he was sentenced to four years in prison and additional three years under house arrest for posting articles criticizing the ruling communist party and its government.
As many as 54 foreign and domestic civil societies, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Civil Rights Defenders and Defend the Defenders issued a joint statement calling on Vietnamís parliament to further revise its draft Law on Religion and Beliefs to conform with Vietnamís obligations under international human rights law. The draft, which is expected to be submitted to the parliament for approval soon, has a number of limitations for people and religious groups to practice their faith.
On October 7, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans FrontiŤres or RSF) issued a statement condemning the Vietnamese governmentís policy of isolating Vietnamese journalists and bloggers and its systematic reprisals against those who dare to connect with the outside world. It cited the latest case on September 26 in which security forces in Hanoi blocked Defend the Defendersís Chief Executive Officer Vu Quoc Ngu from leaving to Paris where he was invited to attend an international conference on press freedom.
Prominent prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is reportedly to conduct hunger strike from October 5 to support people in the central coastal region whose life is affected by the environmental disaster caused by the illegal dumping of very toxic industrial waste of the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant in the central province of Ha Tinh.