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SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM: New research reveals almost 100 prisoners of conscience as crackdown on dissent intensifies

13 Apr 2018
[International Secretariat]
Region: SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Topic:

“Viet Nam is one of Southeast Asia’s most prolific jailers of peaceful activists. The 97 prisoners of conscience that we are aware of in the country are all brave women and men who have been robbed of their freedom for nothing but promoting human rights,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“What is worse is that this number is likely an underestimation.

The list of 97 prisoners of conscience includes lawyers, bloggers, human rights defenders, environmental activists and pro-democracy campaigners. Many have been handed lengthy jail sentences after farcical trials in Viet Nam’s judiciary.

In 2017, Vietnamese authorities intensified a crackdown on dissidents, and sought to tighten control of the internet by targeting bloggers and social media users. The well-known blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh was sentenced to 10-years in jail in June 2017 for “conducting propaganda”.

Prisoners of conscience face deplorable conditions behind bars, where they are often held in solitary confinement and are denied access to lawyers and family members. Torture in Vietnamese prisons is rife – Amnesty International has documented how prisoners are beaten with sticks, rubber tubes, punches and kicks; electrocuted; and subjected to stress positions.

Trial of six activists

On 5 April 2018, six people faced trial in Hanoi City for their peaceful activism. They include five members of the unregistered Brotherhood for Democracy group as well as the activist Nguyen Bac Truyen.

All are accused of “subversion” because of activities that have included peaceful political activism, urging international organisations to raise human rights issues in Viet Nam and providing legal support to farmers and workers. If convicted, they could face a life sentence or the death penalty.

“The relentless crackdown on dissent in Viet Nam must end now. Authorities should start by immediately dropping the ludicrous charges against the six activists and set them free without conditions,” said James Gomez. “This should be immediately followed by the unconditional release of all 97 prisoners of conscience, and the repeal of all laws that criminalize peaceful dissent.”

5 April 2018
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

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