June 29, 2017
By Defend the Defenders, June 29, 2017
On June 29, Hanoi’s police kidnapped young activist Tran Hoang Phuc and brought him to unknown direction, local activists said.
According to people who live together with him in rent apartments in Hoang Hoa Tham street, Ba Dinh district, a group of five police officers came to his room and took him away without showing warrant.
Phuc is an yong human rights and pro-democracy activist from Ho Chi Minh City. He has been under close surveillance of Vietnam’s security forces.
On April 13, Phuc and Huynh Thanh Phat were kidnapped by plainclothes agents, who robbed and brutally beat them before releasing the activists in a remote area in the central province of Quang Binh.
After meeting with Catholic priests in Ba Don town and supplying local residents with some donations, Phuc and Phat went to the Xuan Truyen station to get on a bus headed back to Saigon. After arriving in the station, the duo was kidnapped by a group of eight masked men who came with a seven-seat car.
The kidnappers introduced themselves as criminals and drove the car to a remote area near the Ho Chi Minh Road of Tam Quang commune, Tuong Duong district, Nghe An province. Phat said the thugs stripped them of their clothes, covered their heads with clothes, knocked them down to the car’s floor and continuously beat the two activists with their hands and belts during the journey.
After hours of traveling, they stopped in a remote area of the newly-built road. The thugs robbed all belongings of Phuc and Phat, including cell phones and wallets with money and personnel documents and left.
Severely injured, the two young activists took hours to find people who provided them with clothes and helped them contact other activists.
Phuc’s safety is under concerns given the fact that torture is systemic in Vietnam, with hundreds of detainees and prisoners died in police stations and detention facilities nationwide in the past few years.
Ten days ago, Human Rights Watch released a report highlighting 36 cases in which Vietnamese activists were brutally assaulted by unidentified men which were believed to be plainclothes police since the beginning of 2016 until the end of April this year.
“It’s bad enough that activists in Vietnam have to risk prison for speaking out, but now they have to risk their safety on a daily basis simply for exercising their basic rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.