Vietnam Upholds Sentences against Two Political Activists Tran Anh Kim, Le Thanh Tung
By Defend the Defenders
May 28, 2017
On May 26, the Higher People’s Court in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi on May 26 rejected the appeals of two political activists Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung, finding them guilty of conducting “attempts to overthrow the people’s government” under Article 79 of the country’s Penal Code.
The court upheld the 13-year imprisonment sentence for 68-year-old Kim and 12-year imprisonment for Mr. Tung given by the People’s Court of the northern province of Thai Binh in December last year. In addition, the two will be placed under house arrest for five and four years respectively after completing their terms.
U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the Department of State Virginia Bennett on May 24 met with some Vietnamese activists in Ho Chi Minh City, one day after the 21stsession of the annual Vietnam-U.S. Human Rights Dialogue and a week before the trip of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Washington D.C.
Human rights lawyer and former prisoner of conscience Le Cong Dinh, President of the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam Dr. Pham Chi Dung, President of the independent Vietnam Women for Human Rights Huynh Thuc Vy, and President of Bach Dang Giang and coordinator of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience Association Pham Ba Hai and former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Bac Truyen participated at the meeting which took place in the residence of U.S. General Consul in HCM City Mary Tarnowka.
Two days earlier, the U.S. delegation invited some Hanoi-based activists to a dinner; however, local security blocked Dr. Nguyen Quang A and environmentalist Pham Doan Trang from coming to the meeting.
On May 24, Vietnam’s highest legislative body National Assembly held a heated discussion on Article 19 in the 2015 Penal Code that requires a lawyer to denounce his/her client if the latter commits any of the 86 listed serious criminal offenses. Many lawyers agreed that such regulation will affect the lawyer code stipulated in the 2013 Constitution and other legal documents as well as run counter to the lawyer’s conscience and work ethics.
Also on May 24, member of Vietnam’s highest legislative body National Assembly Nguyen Thi Xuan, who is deputy police chief of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, suggested adding criminal charges for those humiliating or slandering leaders of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam and the state to the 2015 Penal Code. Currently, Vietnam stipulates the charge for slandering under Article 122 and that for humiliation under Article 121 of the Penal Code.--