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SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM:
FEARS FOR PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE AFTER DEATH THREAT

Update info:
23 Aug 2018
Country:
SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Subject:
Trần Thị Nga
Gender m/f: F
Period:
1 Oct 2018
Distribution date:
23 Aug 2018
UA No:
155/2018

Human rights defender Tran Thi Nga (nickname “Thúy Nga”) recently told her husband in a hurried phone call on 17 August 2018 that she had been brutally beaten up and has received a death threats by another inmate. After a previous call with her family, it appears that the attacks have been orchestrated by prison authorities to punish her. Detained for more than 18 months, Tran Thi Nga is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released. 

Trần Thị Nga was arrested and accused of “conducting propaganda against the state” in January 2017, after her involvement in peaceful protests following the 2016 Formosa environmental disaster, which caused the death of hundreds of thousand tons of fish, left millions of people unemployed and stirred up a huge social movement in the country. On 25 July 2017, the court of Ha Nam, a province of northern Viet Nam, convicted and sentenced her to nine years in prison and five years of house arrest. 

In February 2018, she was moved to Gia Trung prison, located 1300 kilometres away from her home, which has caused great difficulty for her family to visit her. It is a common tactic by Vietnamese authorities to move prisoners of conscience to a prison away from their home as a form of additional punishment. Furthermore, the prison authorities have repeatedly refused Trần Thị Nga the right to meet with her family due to her “stubbornness”, a term likely referring to the fact that she has not “confessed” to her crimes.

In more than 18 months of detention, Trần Thị Nga has never been able to meet with her husband and has only been allowed to see her children twice. She is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Trần Thị Nga began her human rights activism by advocating against human trafficking as she was a victim of trafficking herself. She has since worked on a broad range of issues. During her years of activism, Trần Thị Nga has faced several threats and attacks, including been brutally attacked by plain-clothes police. In May 2014, an assault by plain-clothes police left her with a broken arm and leg.

In 2016, an environmental disaster in which industrial waste was dumped into the waters in the central coast of Vietnam led to massive protests around the country. A Taiwanese owned factory later admitted to be responsible for the incident. The disaster killed hundreds of thousands of tons of fish and left millions of people unemployed. People across the country spoke out in anger, and people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city took to the streets in 2017 to protest the lack of an adequate response by the Vietnamese government. Many people were beaten up by the police and detained during the protests. In the months after the protests, the authorities arrested many activists. Around 40 people have been arrested in connection with the protests, and at least a dozen activists have fled the country and are seeking asylum in Thailand.

Trần Thị Nga is one of 94 known prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam. Viet Nam is one of the most prolific jailers of peaceful activists in Southeast Asia, where prison conditions are harsh especially for prisoners detained for political reasons.

Torture and other ill-treatment, including incommunicado detention, prolonged solitary confinement, beatings and deliberately withholding medical treatment are absolutely prohibited under international human rights law but remain common practices by Viet Nam authorities.

UA: 155/18 Index: ASA 41/8965/2018 Viet Nam Issue Date: 20 August 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in Vietnamese, English or your own language, calling Viet Nam’s authorities to:

  • Release Trần Thị Nga immediately and unconditionally, as she is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;
  • Ensure that pending her release, she is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and all allegations are effectively investigated impartially and independently and those responsible are brought to account;
  • End prison transfers as a punitive measure and ensure that Trần Thị Nga has regular access to her family and lawyer of her choice, as well as to the adequate medical care she may require.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 1 OCTOBER 2018 TO:
State president
Trần Đại Quang
Số 2 Hùng Vương, Ba Đình, Hà Nội,
Việt Nam.
Fax: +84437335256
Email: webmaster@president.gov.vn
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Public Security
Tô Lâm
44 Yết Kiêu St. Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội, Việt Nam
Fax: +844 382 318 72
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Email: ttll.mfa@mofa.gov.vn
Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.