Labor Activist Hoang Duc Binh Probed for Third Criminal Charge
Defend the Defenders
August 9, 2017
Vietnam’s authorities have prosecuted human rights activist Hoang Duc Binh with additional charge “Destroying or deliberately damaging property” under Article 143 of the country’s Penal Code after charging him with “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 and “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens” under Article 258 of the law.
The third charge was made nearly three months after authorities in Nghe An province kidnapped him and later charged him with the first two charges.
Under the third charge, he may face imprisonment of between six months and three years, and even between two and seven years under certain circumstances if is convicted, according to the Vietnamese current law.
For the first two charges, he will face imprisonment of between six months and three years for the charge under Article 257, and up to seven years for the charge under Article 258.
All three charges are stumped-up and politically motivated, said Hoang Duc Hao, a younger brother of Mr. Binh.
On June 15, one month after being arrested in Nghe An province, Binh was transferred from a local detention center to B14 detention facility in Hanoi which is under management of the Ministry of Public Security.
Mr. Binh, vice president of the unsanctioned Viet Labor Movement, was arrested and probed due to his peaceful activities which aim to help the Catholic community in the central region to seek justice in the environmental disaster caused by the illegal discharge of toxic industrial waste of the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant into the central coastal waters last year.
Binh and Bach Hong Quyen are two bloggers who have covered information about the natural disaster caused by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant as well as local protests against the pollution-causing investor. Quyen was forced to flee to a foreign country to seek political refugee status after authorities in the central province of Ha Tinh on June 12 issued an arrest warrant for him, accusing him of “causing public disorder” for his peaceful activities.
Relatives of Binh reported that authorities in B14 detention center has not permitted the family to send food supplements, medical drugs, books and other basic goods.
The arrest and charges of Binh is part of the ongoing intensified crackdown against Vietnamese activists, with arrests and heavy sentences of dozens of political dissidents, human rights defenders, social activists and online bloggers since late 2015, starting with the arrest of human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and his assistant Ms. Le Thu Ha.