Vietnam Continues Political Crackdown, Arrests Third Activist in Relation with Pro-democracy Group



Defend the Defenders

November 27, 2016


Vietnamís government has continued its crackdown on local dissent, arresting a Buddhist monk in relation to a newly-established pro-democracy group called the Coalition of Vietnamese People.

On November 16, security forces came to arrest Phan Trung in his private residence in Duc Trong district, Lam Dong province, saying his detention is in relation to the coalition which has not gone public. Ten days earlier, police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested Luu Van Vinh and Nguyen Van Duc Do who are said to be members of the same organization which aims to fight for multi-party democracy.

All three detainees are held in HCMC. Vinh and Do were officially accused of conducting activities aiming to overthrow the government under Article 79 of the Penal Code and face punishment of from five years in prison to life imprisonment and even death sentence according to Vietnamís law.

On November 22, the UN Human Rights Office issued a statement calling on Vietnamís government to release Vinh, Do and blogger Ho Van Hai, who was arrested in October and charged with anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the Penal Code. The Office said it ďwas also deeply concerned by reports that the activists, who have been held incommunicado in line with Vietnamese law for so-called National Security offences, have been subjected to tortureĒ.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has warned that Vinh and Do are at risk of torture while being held incommunicado. The London-based human rights organization has called on the international community to send petitions to Vietnamís leaders, urging them to release the detainees immediately and ensure the two activists are treated in accordance with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention.

Vietnam has remained among the worst ranked countries for Internet freedom in Southeast Asia, according to the U.S.-based Freedom House. Based on its criteria, Freedom House graded Internet freedom in Vietnam and Thailand as not free while Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia have partly free grade.

Religious freedom in Vietnam is at serious risk following the passing of the country's first ever Law on Belief and Religion last week, Christian Solidarity Worldwide has warned.

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