Vietnam: Joint Letter sent to PM Nguyen Tan Dung Ahead of Appeal Trial of Human Rights Defenders


Posted 2013/5/22 – The appeal trial of human rights defenders Messrs Ho Duc Hoa, Thai Van Dung, Paulus Le Son, Nguyen Xuan Anh, Tran Minh Nhat, Nguyen Dinh Cuong, Ho Van Oanh and Nguyen Van Duyet is due to take place tomorrow, 23 May 2013. Ahead of the hearing, a joint letter has been sent by 4 NGOs to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung questioning the legitimacy of the trial that convicted them and condemning the ill-treatment of the human rights defenders whilst in detention.

The human rights defenders were convicted and sentenced under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code which refers to “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.” The criminal activities the group are said to have engaged in include writing commentary that is critical of the Government and distributing this information on the Internet, and both participating in and encouraging peaceful protest.

This joint letter expresses the alarm felt by the organisations, including Front Line Defenders, that the human rights defenders, along with six others six other members of the Catholic organisation Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Dong Chua Cuu), have received severe custodial penalties.

The conviction in January 2013 of the fourteen is viewed by the 4 NGOs as a part of a “disturbing trend of ongoing persecution against those practising their right to free expression in Vietnam .”

The letter ends by calling upon the Vietnamese authorities to “immediately release the detained activists and to reverse the convictions for all fourteen”. It also calls on them to ensure their well-being while detained, guarantee just legal proceedings, and to carry out an investigation and hold to account those responsible for threats and harassment against them.

The full joint letter, including the list of signatories can be found attached to this page in PDF format.

Front Line Defenders previously issued an urgent appeal on this case on 16 May 2013.

* vietnam_joint_letter.pdf  (236.31 KB)