March 9, 2018
Defend the Defenders, March 9, 2018
On March 8, Vietnam’s authorities detained prominent political blogger Pham Doan Trang for about eight hours and released her in late night of the same day.
Trang, who was forced to leave her mother’s apartment in Hanoi to go into hiding in late February to avoide police’s harassment, had gone missing from a new apartment from early afternoon of Thursday and her friends failed to contact her by phone. Local activists assumed that she was detained after many attempts to reach her but failed.
Currently, Trang is still under heavy police surveillance and still not safe.
Her detention today may be related to the ongoing visit of a delegation from the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) led by Ms. Cynthia Veliko, head of the OHCHR Regional Office in the Southeast Asia. The delegation held a meeting with local activists in the headquarters of the UN Representative Agencies to Vietnam in Hanoi on the afternoon of March 8.
On November last year, Trang was also detained and interrogated for many hours after participating in a meeting between local activists and a EU delegation on human rights.
This is the second hours-long detention of Trang within two week. On February 24, Trang was kidnapped by security officers from the Ministry of Public Security who took her to a police station to interrogate her about her recently-published book titled “Chính trị bình dân” or “Politics for the masses.”
Along with arrest and conviction, Vietnam’s communist government has banned hundreds of activists from going abroad and meeting with foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations.
Blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy, vice president of the unsanctioned Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam, who was also invited to meet the OHCHR’s delegation on March 8, was not able to go to the event as local authorities sent police to block his private residence in Thanh Tri district from evening of March 7 until late evening of the next day.