Vietnam Issues Arrest Warrant for Former Prisoner of Conscience Tran Minh Nhat

Mr. Nguyen Minh Nhat and Ms.Tran Thi Nga in the former’s private residence in 2015 when he was released.

By Defend the Defenders, September 29, 2017

Authorities in Lam Ha district, Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have issued an arrest warrant for former prisoner of conscience Tran Minh Nhat, who is under the three-year probation after completing a four-year imprisonment.

In a warrant order dated on August 4, the Investigation Agency in Lam Ha district said Mr. Nhat failed to execute judgments under Article 304 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

The warrant is effective nationwide, the police said.

Mr.Nhat is a Vietnamese journalist and human rights activist. In late August 2011, he was arrested and charged with “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of Penal Code due to his writings in favor of free speech and a pluralist political system in Vietnam.

Later, Nhat was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison with an additional three years of probation. He was released in late August 2015.

After being released and placed under house arrest, he has been harassed many times by local police who summoned him to police station for interrogation and torture.

In many occasions, other activists coming to visit him in Lam Ha were also beaten and harassed by police. Among victims are Tran Thi Nga, who was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years under house arrest in July and allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88, and Le Dinh Luong, who was arrested in July and charged with subversion under Article 79 of the Penal Code.

More details about harassments of Mr. Nhat:

If Nhat is arrested and convicted, he will face imprisonment of up to three years, according to Vietnam’s current law.

In a similar case, Nguyen Van Oai, a former prisoner of conscience in the central province of Nghe An, was sentenced to five years in prison by a court in Hoang Mai town on September 18. Oai, who was arrested on January 19 this year, was convicted of “failing to execute judgments” under Article 304 which brought him two years, and “Resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 which gave him other three years in jail.