Opposing the arrest of the dissidents: Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, Pham Van Troi, and Nguyen Bac Truyen

Immediate Press Release from the Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD)

On the morning of July 30, 2017, the police in Hanoi, Saigon and Thanh Hoa simultaneously arrested Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, Mr. Truong Minh Duc, Mr. Pham Van Troi and Mr. Nguyen Bac Truyen. They were prosecuted by the Vietnamese authorities under Article 79 “Operation to Overthrow the People’s Government”. They are all members of the Brotherhood for Democracy which has been established since April 24, 2013.  They were also former prisoners of conscience.

1 / Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton (1971), residing in Thanh Hoa, is the current president of BFD.  He is also a member of the Interfaith Council in Vietnam.  In 2011, he was sentenced to two years in prison under Article 88 of the Penal Code for Propaganda against the Socialist Republic. In February 1974, he was kidnapped, assaulted and broke his leg while on his way from Thanh Hoa to Quang Binh. Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton was arrested again after the ending of his two years probation!

2 / Engineer Pham Van Troi (1972), living in Hanoi, is a dissident; In 2008, he was arrested under article 88 of the Penal Code and sentenced to 4 years in prison and 4 years of house arrest. Troi has just been released from probation in September 2016.   Ms. Troi’s wife, Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang, reported that the police arrested Troi, allegedly “Operation to overthrow the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the Penal Code.

3) Citizen Journalist Truong Minh Duc (1960), a Saigon resident, was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to 5 years in prison, convicted of “Taking advantage of freedom and democracy to infringe upon the interests of the country”, under Article 258 of the Penal Code.” After being released in 2012, Duc was often harassed and repeatedly assaulted by unidentified people working for the government.

4 / Lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen (1968), residing in Saigon, in 2006 was arrested and charged with “propaganda against the state” with a sentence of 4 years imprisonment. Mr. Truyen was released in 2010 and lived in Saigon.   Truyen has been a member of BFD, though was not active at this time.  He has been questioned and interrogated by the government police about his association with the lawyer Nguyen Van Dai.  He did not cooperate. Mr. Nguyen Bac Truyen was arrested while waiting for his wife at the gate of the Church of Salvation in Saigon.

These four arrested individuals are the members of the Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD), a community based organization (CSO) whose mission is to:

1)    Advocate for the protection of human rights as they are recognized by the Constitution of Vietnam and the International Community.

2)    Advocate for a democratic, progressive, just and civilized society. These principles are in accordance with the Constitution of Vietnam and in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights designated by the United Nations Charter and signed by the Republic of Vietnam and other nations around the world.

The Brotherhood for Democracy opposes the Vietnamese government for its suppression and arrests of these four individuals: Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc and Nguyen Bac Truyen.  This action is contrary to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 2013, trampling on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as defined by the UN Charter, betraying commitments that the State Vietnam has signed with the international.

We oppose the authority for persecuting Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Bac Truyen. We also condemn and oppose the widespread arrest and detention of Le Dinh Luong, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Tran Thi Nga, Nguyen Van Hoa, Nguyen Van Oai, Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien, Bui Hieu Vo, Phan Kim Khanh, Hoang Duc Binh, Tran Van Hoang Phuc, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thu Ha, and many more.

We demand that the Vietnamese government unconditionally release the detainees on 30/7/2017, as well as to all prisoners of conscience who have been arrested and arbitrarily prosecuted in recent years.

With the imprisonment situation being escalated, rampant, and arbitrary for those with different political views from the authorities, the Brotherhood for Democracy calls for:

1 / The Vietnamese people in the country as well as overseas to speak out strongly and demand that the Vietnamese government immediately stop oppressing the people of conscience in Vietnam. To condemn the government acts of contrary to the Constitution of Vietnam, that strangles the freedom, democracy and human rights of the Vietnamese people.

2 / Governments around the world, UN organizations, international human rights NGOs, to voice and intervene effectively to help end the Vietnamese government’s arrest and abuse of the  human right defenders.

3) Civil society organizations in Vietnam as well as civil society organizations around the world to unite and condemn the arbitrary arrests, verdicts with unjust sentences and the imprisonment of those who have a dissenting opinions with the Vietnamese government.

4 / Press agencies – National and international media to widely inform the facts about the severe human right violation of the Vietnamese government by arresting peaceful advocates such as Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Bac Truyen and other dissidents.

Vietnam, July 30, 2017 Brotherhood For Democracy (BFD)