VIETNAM HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK AND DEFEND THE DEFENDERS’ JOINT STATEMENT IN PROTEST OF COURT SENTENCES AGAINST FOUR DISSIDENTS IN DECEMBER 2021
During the three days of December 14, 15, and 16, 2021, the totalitarian Vietnamese regime’s courts consecutively sentenced four dissidents to harsh sentences based on the vague and absurd provisions of the Vietnam Penal code.
- On December 14, Ms. Pham Doan Trang, an activist for freedom of speech, with many works to raise people’s awareness of human rights and civil rights and has been honored by many international human rights organizations, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for allegedly “conducting propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code.
- On December 15, Mr. Trinh Ba Phuong and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tam, advocates of land petitioners and victims of the Dong Tam massacre, were sentenced to 10 years in prison, five years of probation, and six years of imprisonment, three years of probation, respectively for allegedly “Making, storing, distributing or propagating information, materials, and items to oppose the government of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code.
- On December 16, Mr. Do Nam Trung, a former prisoner of conscience who used Facebook to express his opinions peacefully, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and four years of home arrest on the same allegation under Article 117.
In light of the hasty trials, failure to comply with Vietnam’s criminal procedures and international standards for a fair trial, and the above harsh sentences, the Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders state that:
- The judicial system of Vietnam is merely the instrument of oppression of the Communist Party of Vietnam to suppress dissenting voices;
- The four defendants are entirely innocent; they only exercised the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Vietnam and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Vietnam has signed and committed to respecting.
- Request the Government of Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release the four defendants and all prisoners of conscience being persecuted in jails and detention centers across the country;
- Urgently call on governments with diplomatic and trade relations with Vietnam to use the strongest sanctions against the totalitarian Vietnamese regime for its gross violations of human rights through the courts as mentioned above to force Hanoi to implement its international commitments on human rights adequately.
December 16, 2021
For Vietnam Human Rights Network For Defend The Defenders
Nguyen Ba Tung Vu Quoc Ngu