Two More Vietnamese Activists Arrested, Charged with Anti-state Propaganda Allegation

by Defend the Defenders, March 22, 2017

Vietnam’s security forces have arrested two more activists who have been charged with conducting “anti-state propaganda” under the country’s Penal Code, state media reported.

According to the reports, on March 21 the Police Investigation Agency in the northern province of Thai Nguyen arrested Mr. Phan Kim Khanh, 24, who is a permanent resident of Yen Tap commune, Cam Khe district, Phu Tho province.

Four days earlier, the Police Investigation Agency in Ho Chi Minh City detained Mr. Bui Hieu Vo, 55, from Ward 3, Go Vap district.

Police are investigating the cases, newspapers said without elaborating on the detainees’ alleged activities.

Vietnam has used a number of controversial articles in the Penal Code, such as Articles 79, 88 and 258, to silent government critics. So far this year, the government has arrested five activists, namely Tran Thi Nga, Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien, Phan Kim Khanh and Bui Hieu Vo on allegations of conducting “anti-state propaganda” under Article 88, as well as Nguyen Van Hoa on allegations of “abusing democratic freedoms” under Article 258.

Human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and his assistant Ms. Le Thu Ha, who were arrested in late 2015 on charges of “anti-state propaganda,” have not been brought to court.

According to Human Rights Watch, Vietnam is holding around 130 political prisoners, while Amnesty International said the Southeast Asian nation detains at least 112 prisoners of conscience. Hanoi consistently denies holding any political prisoners, as it says it only detains persons who broke the law.